Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Petraeus picked to lead Mideast command

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WASHINGTON - Army Gen. David Petraeus, the four-star general who led troops in Iraq for the past year, will be nominated by President Bush to be the next commander of U.S. Central Command, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

Gates said he expected Petraeus to make the shift in late summer or early fall. The Pentagon chief also announced that Bush will nominate Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno to replace Petraeus in Baghdad.

Central Command oversees the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

"I am honored to be nominated for this position and to have an opportunity to continue to serve with America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians," Petraeus said in a brief statement from Baghdad.

At a hastily arranged Pentagon news conference, Gates said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other problems in the Central Command area of responsibility, demand knowledge of how to fight counterinsurgencies as well as other unconventional conflicts.


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