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General Petraeus wins U.S. Senate nod on Afghan war

Commander receives unanimous support


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

WASHINGTON - General David Petraeus cruised to U.S. Senate confirmation recently as commander of the faltering Afghan campaign, amid deep political divisions over the war and fresh insurgent violence. The Senate vote came amid a new bout of national soul-searching over the war and after Taliban insurgents set off a car bomb and fired rockets at a NATO base in eastern Jalalabad.

The 99-0 vote was a rare display of unity between President Barack Obama's Democratic allies and Republican foes as both sides hoped Petraeus, credited in Washington with turning the Iraq war around, could do the same in Afghanistan.

President Obama praised the Senate's quick action and hoped that General Petraeus's unrivaled experience will ensure that the missionís troops do not miss a beat in the strategy to break the Taliban's momentum and build Afghan capacity.

Obama named General Petraeus to the post after removing General Stanley McChrystal over a controversial magazine interview in which the commander disparaged civilian leaders in Washington and Kabul as well as U.S. allies.

Petraeus, the son of a Dutch-born WWII merchant marine captain and the architect of the U.S. military's "counterinsurgency" strategy, warned anxious Washington politicians that ISAF forces face "tough fighting" ahead against the insurgency.

Amid strains between military and civilian officials, General Petraeus promised senators he would strive to forge "unity of effort" with officials in Washington and in the field.