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. Jessica

    Probably he was avoiding more questions

    June 15, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ryno

    Probably missed breakfast. Tsk tsk tsk. A military man shoud know better.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Helen

    Gen. Petraeous probably choked at hearing the tactical advice advanced to him by the Senator clown from Michigan as to the war in the mid-east.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. paul

    GOLD, DIAMONDS, JEWELS COPPER BRASS, are you guys going to push those people from the stone age out/// one trillion dollars worth, OIL, GAS, PIPELINE, got to take this over so they don,t squander it,

    June 15, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. stuntborg

    He just couldn't swallow it! I laugh at people who refer to a single solider as a "troop."

    June 15, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. D.Vader

    I found his lack of faith disturbing.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Apats

    How to plug it? Pull up that drill pipe in the middle of the casing, attach a mud line to it, pump in mud, stop the oil as the mud rises from the BOTTOM of the well to the top, then pump in concrete to seal it.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. aaa

    I was at the hearing and Id like to clarify. He did not choke, he fainted. He came back into the room 15 minutes later and even before that Sen. Levin made it clear to the room that he was dehydrated. I was actually standing very close to Bash and have no idea how CNN could use the word "choking". I think it was clear to anyone in the room and to myself, not a supporter of the war, that this incident had nothing to do which the questions being asked. In fact, as the article doesn't state, when it happened, McCain was basically in the middle of praising him.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave Wyman

    McCain calls for "success." WHAT is is success? It is an undefined, ever-illusive concept used by one political faction another to achieve traction against faction. From McCain, it's just another example of his pathetic pandering, another demonstration of his total lack of moral fiber.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • EaglesNest1

      Success at this point in time would be, "having OUR general sustaining basic consciousness when asked a question!" This would be success given the broad view state of affairs. What a mess... should we start hoarding fresh water and weapons? That is my opinion.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • missu

      What John McCain would call success would be to "pull the nuclear trigger on Iran" as McCain already said, or start another, and bomb a country! McCain is just a old sick warmonger

      June 16, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fred Mertz

    Neocon right-wing Christian wackos like Bush do the bidding of Israel, get us stuck in Iraq, want to bomb Iran, and all the time Pakistan has the nukes and al-Qaeda... amazing how stupid this people are.

    What Bush and the CIA unambiguously admitted is that there is no connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden/al Qaeda. A lie will travel around the world in a day. The truth will never catch up. Bush and Cheney lied. Too many soccer moms and simple people bought into this lie and still show stupidity by repeating it.

    I hope they are happy when there are Mushroom clouds over American cities from extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jerry20020

    It is so obvious that with the small number of troops relative to what insurgencies require, with the utterly disastrous Karzai and Afghan government and with the short time we have available that the chance of success is slim to none.
    This is so obvious that really smart guys like Obama, Petreus and McCrystal can't – or refuse – to see it.
    Perhaps it IS vitally important to "win"; perhaps it is a "necessary war" - but certainly it is a losing war & we need to extricate ourselves any way we can and certainly by summer of 2011.

    June 15, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • EaglesNest1

      What's obvious is OUR warfare commander can't care for himself, much less our national security interests. That's my opinion.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 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 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. EaglesNest1

    No wonder we haven't found Bin Laden... Our warefare commander forgets to eat breakfast!!! OMG!!!!

    June 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jryan

    All the other reports state that he fainted after being seen drinking several glasses of water during the hearing.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • EaglesNest1

      I heard it was urine, from the men's showers. Could be. He seems frail and squirrelly. That is my opinion.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EaglesNest1

    No wonder we can win a war... OUR warfare commander forgets to drink fluids!!!! OMG!!!

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