WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as the new commander of the Afghanistan war, and President Obama swiftly issued a statement saying Petraeus had his “full confidence.”
“Gen. Petraeus is a pivotal part of our effort to succeed in Afghanistan — and in our broader effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida — and he has my full confidence,” President Obama said in a statement shortly after the Senate’s 99-0 vote.
“For those who doubt the president’s desire and commitment to succeed in Afghanistan, his nomination of Gen. Petraeus to run this war should cause them to think twice,” said Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Gen. Petraeus also told senators that he may change the war’s battlefield rules, designed to limit civilian casualties and improve support for U.S. and NATO forces fighting the Taliban-led insurgency. Some troops and congressional Republicans complain they handicap U.S. forces.
“My sense is that the tough fighting will continue; indeed, it may get more intense in the next few months,” Gen. Petraeus told the Senate panel. “As we take away the enemy’s safe havens and reduce the enemy’s freedom of action, the insurgents will fight back.”
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