WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. general unanimously named top commander in Iraq Friday says sectarian violence has reduced Baghdad's population to a daily struggle for survival.
Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing in Washington that he would need 21,500 additional troops "as quickly as possible" to do his job, the Washington Post said. He promised he would provide the best leadership and direction he could and if he found the strategy was not working he would say so.
The Senate voted 81-0 to confirm Petraeus, 54, to succeed Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
He said the requested five additional brigades should be in place in Baghdad by May, providing what he called a new "critical mass" to clear and hold districts of the city of 6 million people. He warned that a rapid troop pullout could lead to intensified terrorist inroads, "ethnic cleansing" and a bloodbath in Baghdad.
Twice a commander in Iraq, Petraeus is the architect of the troop buildup plan. About 140,000 U.S. troops are already in Iraq.