Petraeus confirmed as Afghan war chief
WASHINGTON — The Senate unanimously confirmed General David Petraeus yesterday as the new commander of the Afghanistan war, and President Obama swiftly issued a statement saying Petraeus had his “full confidence.’’
Petraeus replaces General Stanley McChrystal, whose three-decade career ended after inflammatory remarks he and his aides made about White House officials were quoted in Rolling Stone magazine.
“General Petraeus is a pivotal part of our effort to succeed in Afghanistan — and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda — and he has my full confidence,’’ Obama said in a statement shortly after the Senate’s 99-0 vote.
Obama said the Senate’s quick action and Petraeus’s “unrivaled experience will ensure we do not miss a beat in our strategy to break the Taliban’s momentum and build Afghan capacity.’’
As US Central Command chief, Petraeus was McChrystal’s boss and already overseeing operations in Afghanistan. Petraeus’s replacement at Central Command has not been announced. Petraeus won overwhelming praise from Republicans and Democrats, despite their disagreements on the US policy toward Afghanistan.
“For those who doubt the president’s desire and commitment to succeed in Afghanistan, his nomination of General Petraeus to run this war should cause them to think twice,’’ said Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I know that General Petraeus will do everything in his power to help us succeed in Afghanistan.’’
During his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Petraeus left open the possibility of recommending that the president delay his plans to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan next summer.