Petraeus passes out briefly while answering question from McCain on Hill
“General David Petraeus appeared to briefly pass out while giving testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday,” CBS News reports.
Video of the incident showed Petraeus appear to struggle briefly before standing up and walking out of the hearing room.
USA Today adds, “Petraeus slumped over in mid-sentence while answering a question from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.”
The hearing was immediately suspended, but, according to reports, Petraeus was expected to defend the surge and say that progress was being made in Afghanistan.
But the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq 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, warned the Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of CENTCOM and overseeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“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,” Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services committee, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
Reports indicate Petraeus was able to leave the room by himself, but nothing regarding his current condition has been announced yet.
The Washington Post later reported “Petraeus slumped in his chair as McCain was wrapping up questioning about whether the general supports President Obama’s pledge to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July 2011.”
Moments earlier, Petraeus said, “That is the policy, and I support it.”
As McCain was winding up his statement and praising Petraeus and the U.S. military, he stopped speaking and stared as Petraeus appeared to pass out. Aides rushed to the general’s side and after a few moments led him from the room with their hands under his arms.
About 25 minutes later, Petraeus came back into the hearing room and said he was prepared to resume testifying, but Levin overruled him and announced he was adjourning the hearing until Wednesday morning.
A smiling Petraeus said he had felt “a little lightheaded” and wryly assured the committee that “it wasn’t Senator McCain’s questions” that make him ill. “I just got dehydrated,” he said.