General Petraeus briefly collapses during Senate hearing

General returns to Senate room after recess; hearing is then adjourned.

A spokesman says the top U.S. commander in the Mideast became dehydrated. He had been answering questions on plans to draw down troops in Afghanistan.
Reporting from Washington —

By Julian E. Barnes

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in the Mideast, appeared to faint Tuesday while testifying before the U.S. Senate.

As he was being questioned by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Petraeus slumped over, looked dazed and was assisted by aides who rushed to his side. A few seconds later, he quickly sat upright again and then left the room under his own power.

Twenty minutes later, after being examined by a doctor and having some food, a smiling Petraeus returned to the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing room.

A spokesman said Petraeus was dehydrated and became lightheaded. He had been traveling recently and was jet-lagged, the spokesman said.

Petraeus had been under intense questioning by McCain and the committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), on U.S. plans to begin drawing down forces in Afghanistan next year.

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