WASHINGTON (AP) - Gen. David Petraeus slumped at the witness
table Tuesday while testifying at a Senate hearing, and a spokesman
said the general was likely dehydrated and jet-lagged from his
Petraeus, 57, revived after a few seconds and left the room
under his own power. After about 20 minutes he returned to the
hearing room but Sen. Carl Levin, the panel chairman, decided to
postpone the hearing.
"It appears he was maybe a little jet-lagged, dehydrated
certainly," said Petraeus' spokesman, Col. Erik Gunhus.
Petraeus had finished telling Sen. John McCain that he believed
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.
Petraeus was taken to another room, given something to eat and
drink and was examined by a doctor, Gunhus said. Petraeus himself
returned to the room briefly and told the senators he "was feeling
a little bit lightheaded there."
"It wasn't Sen. McCain's question," the general added.
Gunhus said Petraeus had not been ill recently, although he had
just returned from a weeklong overseas trip. Gunhus said Petraeus
would continue his day as planned.
Last year, Petraeus underwent radiation treatment for the early
stages of prostate cancer. He later announced the treatment had
Petraeus broke his pelvis in a parachute jump in 2000. 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
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.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)