News that General David Petraeus had fainted as he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee took on the typical Internet rumor angle today: Petraeus is dead!
Fortunately, the General is very much alive. The 57-year-old commander of the US Central Command told USA Today he was merely dehydrated.
Now for the bad news (for some anyway): The upcoming military offensive in the Afghani city of Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold, is still on track.
That's what Petraeus was in front of the committee to talk about. He was being grilled by Sen. John McCain on the issue at the exact moment when he slumped over during a congressional hearing being televised live on C-SPAN (you can see the video here).
McCain wasn't happy with the direction of the offensive -- which Petraeus later joked was not the cause for his fainting spell.
But he's hardly the only one. President Obama's counterinsurgency strategies have weathered criticisms on both sides, with Democrats telling the Washington Post this week that the entire hearing was focused on major concerns with Kandahar.
As of now, more troops are serving in Afghanistan than Iraq, and as Armed Services Committee panel chair Sen. Carl Levin (a Democrat) pointed out in his opening remarks, news from Afghanistan in recent weeks has been "largely negative."
Petraeus, who was revived and returned to the room, is expected to return tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. to take up where he left off -- pledging his support for the Obama administration's decisions.
His fainting may be the big news today, but like the General, this issue is far from dead.
Image via C-SPAN