Gen. David Petraeus told CNN on Thursday that he supports President Barack Obama's July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a key point of contention between the president and many of his Republican critics in Congress.
Petraeus - tapped to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan - expressed his respect and appreciation for McChrystal's work and said the circumstances surrounding the change in command are "sad."
Obama relieved McChrystal of his duties Wednesday after the general and his staff were quoted in a Rolling Stone magazine article making comments that appear to mock top administration officials.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen endorsed Obama's decision during a Pentagon news conference Thursday. Mullen said he was nearly physically "sick" when he read the Rolling Stone story. The comments in the article constituted an unacceptable challenge to civilian authority, the men said.