Panel approves Petraeus nomination

Thursday, January 25, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A Senate committee on Wednesday approved the nomination of Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus to command American forces in Iraq, replacing Gen. George Casey.

The Senate Armed Services Committee sent the nomination to the full Senate, which is expected to approve the nomination today, including promoting Petraeus to four-star rank for the top military post in Iraq.

Bush named Petraeus to replace Casey as part of a revamping of his top military and diplomatic officials in Iraq and the Middle East. While the president's proposal to add 21,500 more U.S. troops to the roughly 132,000 already in Iraq is being widely criticized in Congress, the choice of Petraeus has not been controversial.

Petraeus, 54, has served two previous yearlong tours in Iraq -- as commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the 2003 invasion and as commander of the training program for the Iraqi Army from 2004 to 2005.

Casey has been nominated to be the next Army chief of staff.

The committee approved the nomination without opposition at an impromptu meeting in the Capitol, said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the panel.

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