US veterans say Petraeus deserves fifth star
Updated: 2011-01-20 07:57
WASHINGTON - US veterans have called for top Afghanistan commander General David Petraeus to receive a rare fifth star, but a lawmaker said that Congress has no immediate plans to take up the proposal.
The extremely rare honor has not been bestowed on any general for decades, and has only been awarded 10 times in the country's history. It is the equivalent of the British field marshal rank.
Previous recipients include General John Pershing at the end of World War I and generals Dwight Eisenhower, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur and Admiral Chester Nimitz during World War II.
"The US war against terrorism is now the longest war in US history, and General Petraeus has clearly distinguished himself as a leader worthy of the rank held by generals MacArthur, Marshall and Nimitz," Iraq war veterans Pete Hegseth and Wade Zirkle said.
"A promotion would properly honor his service - and it would also honor the troops he leads and has led," they wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week.
The two say they hope to gather up to 10,000 signatures and submit the petition to Congress, which would have to approve the promotion.
On a Facebook page dedicated to the idea, 738 people had expressed support for the move as of Tuesday afternoon.
But the Republican who leads the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, said that adding Petraeus to the exclusive category of five-star officers was not a priority at the moment.
"That's not even something we're thinking about. He's a great general, and he's doing a great job, but that's sure not on my radar scope," McKeon said.
Petraeus, author of an influential manual on counter-insurgency, is revered particularly among Republicans in Congress and conservatives for his role in helping contain violence in Iraq during his stint as commander there.
(China Daily 01/20/2011 page11)
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