Friday, March 18, 2011

Petraeus says he has personal reason to end war: his son

Under close questioning about the nation's longest war from Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), Army Gen. David Petraeus revealed that he has a strong personal stake in ensuring that U.S. troops get out of Afghanistan as soon as is feasible: His own son is serving alongside them.

Jones said he worried the military would not actually leave Afghanistan in 2014 as promised, and that Petraeus would again be testifying in front of Congress that he needed more troops and more time. "You know, 15, 16, 17 years, for God sakes, how much more can we take, how much more can we give treasure and blood?" Jones asked.

"I may not be at this table, probably won't be, in 2015, but I'll tell you that my son is in uniform, and Lieutenant Petraeus just completed a tour in Afghanistan, which thankfully we were able to keep very quiet, and left in November after serving as an infantry platoon leader," the elder Petraeus said. "We're very proud of what he did. He thinks he was doing something very important," he said.

Petraeus said he understood the "impatience" of the American people. He recalled a conversation with a congresswoman who told him she was a member of the Out of Iraq caucus. "And I said, 'Congresswoman, so am I.' But we have to get out under the right conditions," he said. He said he would be the first to tell political leaders if he thought the military's objectives in Afghanistan were not achievable.

The deadly 10-year war in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of 2,300 coalition members and thousands more Afghan civilians. Petraeus recently apologized for a NATO air attack that killed nine civilians, some of them children.

Petraeus's son, Army 2nd Lt. Stephen Petraeus, "served in Afghanistan as a member of Alpha Company, 3rd Platoon, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team," according to the AP.

Petraeus isn't the only public figure whose children are fighting or have fought in recent U.S. wars. Sen. John McCain's son Jack graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2009 and his other son Jimmy joined the U.S. Marine Corps when he was only 17 and finished a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008. Vice President Joe Biden's son, Beau, is a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq for a year in 2008.

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