Senate Committee Approves Lt. Gen. David Petraeus for Command of U.S. Forces in Iraq

A Senate committee on Wednesday approved the nomination of Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus to command American forces in Iraq, replacing Gen. George Casey.

The Senate Armed Services Committee sent the nomination to the full Senate, which is expected to approve the nomination on Thursday, including promoting Petraeus to four-star rank for the top military post in Iraq.

Bush named Petraeus to replace Casey as part of a revamping of his top military and diplomatic officials in Iraq and the Middle East. While the president's proposal to add 21,500 more U.S. troops to the roughly 132,000 already in Iraq is being widely criticized in Congress, the choice of Petraeus has not been controversial.

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Petraeus, 54, has served two previous yearlong tours in Iraq — as commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the invasion in March 2003 and as commander of the training program for the Iraqi Army in 2004-05.

Casey has been nominated to be the next Army chief of staff.

The committee approved the nomination without opposition at an impromptu meeting in the Capitol, said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the panel.

Complete coverage is available in's Iraq Center.