WASHINGTON (AP) – Notwithstanding months of partisan wrangling in Congress over the Iraq war, the Senate Thursday handily confirmed Gen. David Petraeus as the top commander in the Middle East and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno to replace Petraeus as the chief military officer in Iraq.
The Senate voted 95-2 in favor of Petraeus with Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Tom Harkin opposing. Harkin, D-Iowa, cast the lone vote opposing Odierno, who was confirmed 96-1.
The Senate action will keep the nation on its present course in Iraq for the remainder of the year. It also will hand the next administration a pair of combat-tested commanders who have relentlessly defended the need to keep troops in Iraq in large numbers, rather than wind down combat operations.