Petraeus Might Advise Afghanistan Troop Drawdown Delay

In this June 15, 2010 file photo, U.S. Central Commander Gen. David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. President Barack Obama has named Gen. Petraeus to succeed Gen. Stanley McChrystal as top war commander in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) AP Photo/Evan Vucci

David Petraeus
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Gen. David Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said that he could "certainly" advise President Obama to delay the Afghanistan troop draw down slated to begin in July 2011, if that's what the conditions on the ground called for.

Petraeus recently replaced the ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan. He said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," scheduled to air this Sunday, that the president expects from him his "best professional military advice."

That advice, Petraeus said, will be based on his understanding of the mission and the resources with which he can carry out the mission. "As there are changes in any of that, obviously I would communicate that to" Mr. Obama, Petraeus said. "That's real life."

The New York Times reports that U.S. military officials are building a case to downplay the president's promise to begin leaving Afghanistan next summer and that Petraeus is "taking several steps" to show Washington that a rapid withdrawal would be ill-advised.

When asked whether his job is to "slow down the Washington clock," Petraeus said, "I think our job is again to show those in Washington that there is progress being made and to do that we've got to build on the progress that has been established so far because there is certainly nothing like irreversible momentum."

Petraeus' interview is reportedly the start of a several week media blitz by the general to try to boost public support for his mission.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan

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