As Petraeus was delivering his talking points, protestors began shouting out, “Give the country back to the Iraq people.” Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), rapped his gavel in an attempt to bring order, stating, “If you’re intending to demonstrate that way, we’re asking you not to do it.”
The protestors carried on for a few more minutes, as Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno looked on stoically, sipping water. My colleague Marty Kady says he saw them singing peace songs while outside the hearing chamber, while being processed by police.
In opening the hearing, Levin heaped praise upon both Petraeus and Odierno, saying their confirmations to CENTCOM would bring “unprecedented continuity of senior military leadership,” and that the country owes both men a debt of gratitude.
In his opening remarks, Petraeus took a moment to mention his well wishes for Sen. Kennedy, praising his “inspirational spirit.” He outlined the threats facing the Middle East but noted that the number of security incidents in Iraq last week was lowest in four years. Petraeus gave some of the credit to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and said, “I believe the path we are on will best achieve the objective.”