June 15th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

Petraeus escorted from hearing after apparent fainting

[Updated at 2:28 p.m.] Gen. David Petraeus "is feeling much better," spokesman Col. Erik Gunhus said. "It appeared that he fainted."

Read full CNN.com story

[Updated at 11:11 a.m.] Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, is doing better after being escorted from a congressional hearing, he told CNN's Dana Bash.

"I'm going ok. I just got a little dehydrated," Petraeus told Bash after the congressional hearing was adjourned. "I ate a couple of bananas and drank some water. I ddn't eat breakfast this morning."

Petraeus was smiling, holding what looked like a cup of water.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morell told Bash that Petraeus had looked pale, but after he began to eat and drink the color returned to his face.

Petraeus was appearing at a congressional hearing on progress on the war in Afghanistan, but it was adjourned for the day after the incident.

[Updated at 10:57 a.m.] Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, was escorted from a congressional hearing room after apparently choking, but later returned to the hearing to applause.

The hearing, however, was called off for the day.

[Updated at 10:36 a.m.] The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was escorted from a congressional hearing room after apparently choking during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of CENTCOM, appears to be doing “very much better."

He is eating and “probably didn’t have enough to drink before coming in here this morning.”

"We will make a decision hopefully in a few minutes as to whether we're going to proceed this morning or not," Levin said.

[Posted at 10:30 a.m.] Opening a hearing on Afghanistan, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, questioned the progress and planning for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

Opening the hearing, Levin, D-Michigan, questioned the ratio of U.S. and NATO troops to Afghan troops, urging for a faster ramping up of Afghan security forces.

"Progress towards the goal of Afghans taking the lead in operations has been unsatisfactory. Today operations in Afghanistan are excessively dependent on coalition forces," Levin said.

Levin said in the coming campaign in Kandahar, there is a plan to have one Afghan service member for every two international troops. He called instead for a one-to-one ratio, with Afghan forces in the lead.

His Republican counterpart, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said in his opening remarks that the key trends were going in a "bad direction, perhaps even signaling a mounting crisis."

"Hoping for success on the arbitrary timeline set by the administration is simply unrealistic," McCain said, calling for the president to say the U.S. will stay in Afghanistan until there is success.

Prepared remarks from Petraeus said progress is being made even as the security violence has gotten more intense.

The surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan is ahead of schedule, but the situation on the ground will get more difficult before it gets better, he warned. "I noted several months ago ... the going was likely to get harder before it got easier. That has already been the case, as we've seen recently," his prepared remarks said.

All 30,000 additional U.S. troops ordered by President Obama last year will be in place in Afghanistan by the end of August, according to Petraeus.

Troops had originally been scheduled to be in place by September.

In the prepared remarks, he told the congressional panel Tuesday that increasing the size and capability of the struggling Afghan National Army and police forces are back on track, but there is more work to be done.

Under Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy also argued that progress has been made.

"We are regaining the initiative and the insurgency is beginning to lose momentum," she said in her opening statement, but noted outcome is "far from determined."

soundoff (98 Responses)
  1. WilmaWonka

    Not a big fan of Gen Patraeus but I don't like to see a man in distress. I hope he's okay.

    If you watch the video of the incident, what I particularly liked was the gentleman in the uniform who tries to shield the General from photographers. Bravo! and who would find photographs of a man in such distress of value. Shame on them.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Must agree. I have no time for the jackal press, which is all we seem to have these days.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Common Sense

      I understand why the photographers were there and taking photos when he slumped over, but I hope that those pictures are not used nor released. There is no value in them.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Sue Denimme

      The Washington Post is reporting he fainted. Interesting the difference in reporting.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • signs signs everywhere a signs...

      If we don't cut the bad leaves off the Rose Bush we are about to loose the whole thing...

      June 15, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim the Anvil

      The media would have rejoiced in cycling pictures of a fallen general.. . . no matter what they say! Obviously, TMA, insider and such shows would have activated reporters to the hearing room but this one is over, folks. THe fat lady has finished singing...

      June 15, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Totally agree. I wouldn't call these people taking pictures press, they are more like paparrazi who are just after the 'money shot'. What weasels.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • EaglesNest1

      Great... our warfare commander is physically frail, possibly a weakling, who lacks sufficient vision to eat breakfast and doesn't know IF/WHEN HE'S DEHYDRATED!!! (duh.... pee clear?) Lots of luck!!! We're FUCCCCCED!!! This is amazing. I feel like I'm watching a comedy!!! Question – How do so many incompetents gain leadership positions? Do they just ask for it? Who's promoting these morons to positions of power? What a MESS!!!! AMERICA – It's essential – VOTE LEADER , not lawyer.

      That is my opinion.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • EaglesNest1

      to @U.S. Common Sense – Huh? Pictures of OUR warfare commander failing to eat and drink to sustain consciousness are irrelevant? A General fainting like a woman irrelevant? What? Are you dumb, arrogant, or just a full of crap lawyer? DISPLAY THE PHOTOS – GET HIM PSYCHO TREATMENT FOR HIS DISORDERS – REPLACE HIM WITH A STRONG LEADER WHO EATS and DRINKS FLUIDS to sustain consciousness! Then – perhaps we'll locate Bin Laden. Can't find him if you're fainting like a woman. VOTE LEADER – NOT LAWYER FOLKS – TIME FOR COMMON SENSE. That is my opinion.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikiejoe

      Eagles Nest is a moron, total loser and a coward...and I don't usually like to talk about people. He made it easy...
      What would he know about military leadership?

      June 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • SAK

      thats a fitting reply Keepitreal especially about becoming a general. LMK ..its not just the general but all who serve the defence forces in any capacity deserves the highest respect. because of them you and I can sleep in peace.and it looks like Eaglesnest is only qualified to eat and drink so he/she wont even get throught the recruiting camp.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Susan

    the afghans are never going to be in control, we are wasting the lives of American troops over there...pull out!

    June 15, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • cr

      you should be ashamed to call yourself an american, please go back to your freedom to choose what you are doing right now, the freedom to work and be safe, and your free speech. GOD BLESS every AMERICAN troop who fights for us and our fellow man.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • wing ding

      CR – are you mentally defective? Susan is correct. Support our troops and bring them home from this rathole. Worried about nuclear weapons from Pakistan getting into a Talibran-controlled Afghanistan and then to Al Queda? Don't

      June 15, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      The whole strategy is flawed from the top down. Completely corrupt government. Afgans are no fools they will take anything they can from the US and then shoot them in back the first chance they get. Americans are so stupid sometimes. We dont learn anything frorm histrory and tend to repeat the same mistakes made by others or ourselves.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      @cr – PLEASE, because Susan doesn't share your opinion, she's not an American? As if your opinion is the only correct opinion? How dare you? Who the hell are you? Myself, and every one of our vets, past and present, and all of those troops over there have fought, are fighting, and will always fight so that people like Susan can voice her opinion. What kind of American are YOU?

      June 15, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • justiniowa

      I agree Susan! Let the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have it back. 1000 American soldiers dead and for what? Oh right 9 years without another terrorist attack on the scale of 9-11. I guess you don't remember that 3000 American civilians were killed. Maybe you just don't care anymore. So soon we forget.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • EaglesNest1

      How do I apply for the General's position? My qualifications include, "eating and drinking to sustain consciousness" and from the looks of it – I'M OVER-QUALIFIED!!! ROFL... What a disgrace. What a mess. Our leaders are morons. Vote leader – not lawyer to regain basic common sense BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. That is my opinion.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Martial Champagne

      hey Eagle nest, Have you ever went to war?? You do not have a clue what kind of pressure your leader are going through. I am sure you never lead anything in you rlife even your mouth. I am a canadian, and I am proud of what you guys and what your general is doing in teatre of operations. Because of guys like him and not like you, that your country is still free. Americans soldier are given their lives to keep your freedom to write and think. Pleas erespect that a little bit. Your general has been trained to do war, not to answer question for hours at a committee.
      Join your army and you might understand a little bit.
      God bless america.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Evan Roberts

      Gen Patreus is an honorable man. but maybe he was looking at the CNN web site reading where Americans want to limit freedom of expression in Manhattan not atop of ground zero, but blocks from it. Maybe he put 2 +2 together reading that we're starting to sound more like a nation that isn't free, and my son went to Iraq twice to allow me the freedom to say what I'm saying ...If we limit freedom of religion, soon, in the dead of night, they'll be coming for all of us by expressing ourselves here.

      August 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. damiao

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com

    June 15, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jason

    Maybe he's been put under a spell... Everytime he lies he chokes. One could only wish.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      What an idiotic comment to make.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • wing ding

      Blame the messenger? He takes his orders from our politicians. Mad about that? Change the politicians.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. John Morgan

    War ain't fun anymore, like it used to be. OMG! Beat by a bunch of camel drivers.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Who, over the centuries, have beaten just about everyone else they've ever fought. Just go ask the Russians and the Brits.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • MarcW

      ........and the Romans, and Alexander. Only the Mongols subdued it for any length of time, and they were just passing through to Baghdad.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Mountains out of Mole hills...............Compare the Russian Army to the US Army(US Armed Forces), that in itself is not worth answering(the Romans??? with swords???). Keep wishing we will not succeed while we do. The same was said about Iraq by the way.

      As for the honorable People of Afghanistan being fierce determined fighters. I could not agree more. If Helped in the right way this thing may turn out to be a major surprise to the entire world. People will fight for freedom from oppression if there is a glimmer of hope.

      So this man has 3 seconds of being human and he is weak, also not worth answering....signed US Army

      June 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Johnny Five

    It's been getting worse before getting better since 2001. It's time to throw in the towel and admit that we're being lied to.

    June 15, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • jason

      Yeah great idea. We throw in the towel, just drop everything, and get attacked again. Are you really that dumb?

      June 15, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny Five

      Only with you in my country I am. You probably think "they" are the ones who did something on 9/11. How about they come over here and wipe your countrymen out because they "think" we did something to them with no proof.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Mountains out of Mole hills...............Compare the Russian Army to the US Army(US Armed Forces), that in itself is not worth answering(the Romans??? with swords???). Keep wishing we will not succeed while we do. The same was said about Iraq by the way.

      As for the honorable People of Afghanistan being fierce determined fighters. I could not agree more. If Helped in the right way this thing may turn out to be a major surprise to the entire world. People will fight for freedom from oppression if there is a glimmer of hope.

      So this man has 3 seconds of being human and he is weak, also not worth answering....signed US Army

      June 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chip

    Glad he's ok, but it's interesting that this happened just as he was being asked about the progress of the war on Afghanistan. So does he get a pass or will he still have to give an answer?

    June 15, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      He'll answer tomorrow.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Max

      Someone told him to use the "Gag Rule", but I'm not sure this was what they had in mind.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cardog

    To Jason...with fellow Americans like you, let's hope you are few. Maybe within the circle of people you know, everyone is either a lair or is involved in some sort of under-handed endeavor, but to call a man like Gen.Petraeus a lair is beyond the pale..Shame on you. Is there anyone that would meet your expectations?

    June 15, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Hrmmm

    Who in the world chokes because "not enough to drink" That does not even make sense.

    Was he choking or coughing. Those are two COMPLETELY different things. Choking is when your throat is clogged possibly by your tongue during a seizure or food. You do not just randomly choke on thin air.

    I guess it is none of our business but strange to say the least. "not enough to drink"?!?!?! How does that have to do with choking? Was he eating a bagel or something at the time? Strange...I have never choked unless eating personally!!

    Maybe an itchy throat and a cough but that would be really really really bad reporting to mix a cough with a choke. Choking makes little to no sound except for the sound you make grasping for air.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • U.S. Common Sense

      Other news outlets are saying he looked like he passed out.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny Five

      I hope he is ok, but what many don't know is that we do bad things to others, even our own for trying to inform.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • tct

      It's common with dehydration, it sounds like slow dehydration was his problem.

      Then again, I've only lived in the desert 40 years.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bob Ramos

    We are regaining the initiative and the insurgency is beginning to lose momentum,” she said in her opening statement, but noted outcome is “far from determined.”

    -----------------------------–

    Everytime an administration figure, military or civilian, makes a statement like the above, events prove them wrong.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. Lori

    Jason is a tool.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Atthehearing

    He didn't choke. He passed out due to dehydration. Hopefully CNN is more thorough in the future.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Hrmmm

      Well that is a pretty darn big discrepency!!! Thanks. Yea..he could pass out. He could faint. He could have had a panic attack. But you do not choke (medical definition) from not drinking 🙂

      Thanks. Hopefully he is ok. These reporters really do little to zero research anymore. It is really sad that 99% of what you read, and I do not care from what outlet, is total garbage reporting and the rush to see who can post it fastest.

      As a columnist I could not even in good conscious release something like this because the facts do not add up, and not that is a big story it is just ridiculous that even the small stories you can't make a few phone calls?!?!?!?! Jeesh CNN!

      June 15, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryno

      Could be dehydration. That's actually happened to me before when I was sick.

      June 15, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. Sparky

    probably happened after he said "George Dubya Bush, Commander In Chief"

    June 15, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. DAS

    All his Lies got to him..........

    June 15, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Major Don

    Good luck sir. I hope you are ok. Jason me thinks you need some individual close order drill or maybe your eyes welded shut. Idiot.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
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