In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee last week, General David Petraeus, who will take over as the commanding general in Afghanistan, was questioned about President Obama's controversial decision to set July 2011 as a date to begin withdrawing troops. Petraeus said that that date should not be set in stone.
Petraeus said that both the start date of the withdrawal and the rate of withdrawal should be based on "conditions on the ground."
"It's important that July 2011 be seen for what it is, the date when a process begins based on conditions, not the date when the U.S. heads for the exits," said Petraeus. "Moreover, my agreement with the president's decisions was based on projections of conditions in July 2011. Needless to say, we'll do all that is humanly possible to achieve those conditions."
"as July 2011 approaches, I will provide my best professional military advice to the secretary and the president on how I believe we should proceed based on the conditions at that time, and I then will support the president's ultimate decision.
"I do believe that providing one's forthright advice is a sacred obligation that military leaders have to our men and women in uniform, and again, I know that's what the president expects and wants his military leaders to provide as well."