WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Friday confirmed Army Gen. David Petraeus as the next commander of U.S. forces in Iraq even though he supports a boost in American troops that many senators oppose.
Widely regarded as one the army’s brightest commanders, Petraeus, who was confirmed on a vote of 81-0, told senators earlier this week that the situation in Iraq was “dire” but not hopeless.
Petraeus, who has already completed two Iraq tours, will be charged with implementing President George W. Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq in an effort to halt spiraling insurgent attacks and sectarian violence.
A key Senate committee has approved a nonbinding resolution opposing Bush’s strategy. A full Senate vote on that measure and another proposal criticizing the plan could come as soon as next week.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and critic of Bush’s strategy, said Petraeus must keep a promise to report on whether it was working. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and defender of Bush’s plan, said Petraeus represented “our best chance for success” in Iraq.