POSTED: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 9:38am
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - 9:43am
WASHINGTON - Gen. David Petraeus slumped over Tuesday morning during a Senate hearing, but revived after a few seconds and left the room under his own power. After about 20 minutes he returned to the hearing room.
Petraeus, 57, had finished telling Sen. John McCain that he believes the planned 2011 drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan remains on track, and McCain was responding when the room fell silent and aides began crowding around the four-star general.
Petraeus, who oversees the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as head of U.S. Central Command, briefly put his head on the table, then rose, appearing dazed. He stood under his own power and was escorted from the room.
Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman, suspended the hearing until Wednesday out of concern for Petraeus' health.
Petraeus himself returned to the room briefly and told the senators he "was feeling a little bit light-headed there."
"It wasn't Sen. McCain's question," the general added.
In his lengthy appearances before the Senate and House armed services committees in September 2007 to testify on Iraq, he was reported to have endured great back pain and got through it with the help of Motrin.
Petraeus is the commander of U.S. Central Command. He was testifying on the war in Afghanistan.
As the most popular and widely known general of his generation, Petraeus is approaching a new juncture in a career that catapulted him to fame when President George W. Bush sent him to Baghdad in early 2007 to carry out a long-shot "surge" strategy that arguably rescued Iraq from collapse.
The general has had a high-profile career, and many believe he is the leading candidate to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He commanded all forces in Iraq under President George W. Bush.