President Bush’s choice for a new commander of U.S. forces in Iraq heads before the U.S. Senate for confirmation today. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s still on the fence over Lieutenant General David Petraeus. Harkin says he’s never met the general and hasn’t made up his mind yet how to vote on his confirmation.
Petraeus has already served two year-long tours in Iraq, first as a division commander during the invasion in March 2003. The following year, he led the training program for the Iraqi Army. Harkin, a staunch opponent of the war in Iraq, says he may have significant philosophical differences with Petraeus.
Harkin says "One of the things that disturbs me a little bit about what I’ve read about General Petraeus is that he seems to intellectually think that somehow we can have some kind of military victory in Iraq. We’re just going down that same long road again." President Bush has picked Petraeus to replace General George Casey in Iraq, as Casey’s been nominated to be the Army’s next chief of staff.
Harkin is joining with other Democrats to oppose the President’s plan for a troop surge in Iraq and Harkin says he’s not sure he should endorse Bush’s pick for the new military leader there. "I don’t know about General Petraeus and I’m not certain I’m going to give him my vote of confidence. I’m going to take a good hard look at it before I cast my vote." Petraeus’ nomination to become U.S. commander in Iraq also involves him being promoted to four-star rank.