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Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2007

Senate confirms new commander

February 8, 2007

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— The Senate confirmed a new military commander for troops in the Middle East on Wednesday.

The new director of national intelligence also was confirmed.

The approval of Navy Adm. William Fallon to replace Army Gen. John Abizaid as head of U.S. Central Command, on a voice vote in the Senate, was in contrast to the widespread public and congressional opposition to President Bush's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq.

Retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell was confirmed on a voice vote to become the nation's second national intelligence director.

Fallon, 62, was commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific when Bush tapped him for the job. Fallon will take over as part of a shift in leading military and diplomatic figures in the Middle East that Bush is making as he retools U.S. policy in Iraq. Abizaid is retiring.

Fallon told a Senate panel in January that it was probably time to redefine the nation's goals in Iraq.

"What we have been doing has not been working," he said. "We have got to be doing, it seems to me, something different." He did not say what might change under his command.

McConnell replaces John Negroponte, who was nominated to become deputy secretary of the State Department.

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