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."

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[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. EaglesNest1

    Does "CareerBuilders.com" offer the general's position? My qualifications include "eating and drinking to sustain consciousness during strategizing warfare." FROM THE LOOKS OF IT – I'M PROBABLY OVER-QUALIFIED!!! ROFL... who promotes these incompetents? Our academic credential system has failed us!!! Promote positive statistical outliers, not purchase degrees... THIS IS A MESS!!! That is my opinion.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Max

    Someone told him to use a "Gag Order", but this wasn't what they had in mind.

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

    Chocking? Fail.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. EaglesNest1

    Nothing makes the U.S. look weaker to our enemies than our GENERAL fainting when he's asked a simple question!!! What a mess!!! That is my opinion.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. EaglesNest1

    SERIOUS QUESTION: What is emotionally wrong with the General? Who forgets to eat and drink?

    June 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMK

      you've never skipped breakfast because perhaps you're running late or something?

      June 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. WBMD

    It was the salmon mousse...

    June 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ballz

    I wonder how the summer Rush tour will go this year /sigh wish I could go

    June 15, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davey Jones

      I hear Rush is going to do a book tour not sure if it is this summer or not. Hey I see you are dedicated. I heard, he just had Elton John sing at his 4th wedding, trip out on those ballz!

      June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KeepitReel

    To all you morons out there – I served with General Petraeus for a few years. Didn't really care for him but until you actually know him, and that he served in Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, both Iraq conflicts, and others I can't mention due to the statue of limitations, you'd see that he's one of the greatest inidivduals of modern times. So he passed out. He probably has the flu, is in a weakened state right now, but still came to DC to get something done as directed by Congress. Someone blogged that Generals don't serve in battle – well dippy how do you think they got to be a General? Serving as a Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, etc. in more positions than you'll ever know, and most in a battle or conflict. Someone also commented on all his decor on his uniform. Well, in the Army, you earned it you wear it. All need to understand he didn't decide just to put it on his uniform like its halloween. Congress announces ribbons, citations, and medals and if you were so fortunate to have been there, or part of it, you wear it. See, an Army uniform tells everyone who knows how to read a uniform all about a soldier in the blink of an eye, and yes for General Petraeus he earned even the dust specks on his uniform. So, all you haters out there, get over it because for the last 38 years he's defended this country without question – just so you and run your big mouth so negatively.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMK

      You have a very valid point. While many of us hate the politics of the war(s), his years of service deserve respect. So do all of our military.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • peptide.illuminatiq

      Excellent comment Sir! I respect you and people like you who defend this great nation. Thank you.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry20020

      If Petraeus is so smart, why does he think we can succeed in Afghanistan? His COIN strategy presupposes a legitimate central government, competent government officials who care about making the locals lives better and large, trained, competent police and military forces. In Afghanistan we have 'none of the above' and only a dreamer can imagine that changing for the better.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. LMK

    I wonder if I could try that the next time I get called for Jury duty? It worked for him.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMK

      As KeepitReal pointed out, the General has served in many ways to keep us safe. My comment is tactless. My apologies.

      June 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Izzy.Boy

    Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Know, Don't Care

    June 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GJ

    It's very easy to get choked up in a hearing like that if you don't eat a proper breakfast and hydrate. Lesson learned–could have happened to anyone. Our human bodies are all subject to the obvious.

    June 15, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LiveFreeor

    I am no General, but I imagine that I too would become physically ill contemplating the genocide and monetary waste that the US Military is promoting in Iraq and elsewhere. I am sure the Pentagon doctors will prescribe the usual: "Barrels of oil and precious minerals....call me in the morning." Of course this cure will be issued under the marketing labels of "Promoting Democracy" or "Fighting Terrorism".

    June 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • LiveFreeor

      Great one LiveFreeor...you must be a communist who hates his country and does recognize that all of your liberties are as a result of the patriotic men and women who sacrifice their lives (and that of millions of others) constantly fighting treasonous and genocidal wars throughout the globe....you are a bad American. We should keep spending trillions of dollars we do not have so we can keep continuously fight enemies, real or percieved.

      June 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • LiveFreeor

      But what about George Washington's admonishment in his Farewell Address regarding having too large a standing army, since it was his feeling that it would lead to unecessary wars and needless expenses that would burden the taxpayers of the United States of America?

      June 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LiveFreeor

    LiveFreeor....why don't you just live free and DIE...you really are a block head. George Washington had no idea what life would be like in the 21st Century. He would be proud of everything the US Military is doing throughout the globe today

    June 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LiveFreeor

    And another thing LiveFreeor...Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh support everything the military does and they are good patriotic Americans. They are conservatives too! Compared to those two real men of genius, George Washington is a mental midget! Stupid, ungrateful terrorist lover.

    June 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LiveFreeor

    I guess you have a point there....Maybe spending trillions of dollars on genocidal, treasonous wars are good if we can steal more stuff than we spend in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.... we are losing all of our manufacturing jobs here because we cannot cost-effectively produce items that people need for peaceful, everyday living. At least we are the still the leading producers of something, even if it is military armaments....Iraq and Afghanistan do have rich resources of oil, gas and minerals. It is there for the taking. What about that commandment :"Thou shalt not steal" or the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have done to you? Do these moral edicts still apply?

    June 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
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