Petraeus cautions against excessive defense cuts

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Retiring Army Gen. David Petraeus is arguing that cuts in defense spending must not be allowed to undermine the versatility and flexibility that U.S. forces have developed in fighting wars simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Petraeus made the statement Wednesday in looking back over his 37-year career at a retirement ceremony on the sun-splashed grounds of the Pentagon.

He thanked those he has served with and cautioned the government not to make excessive cuts in the Pentagon budget in coming years. The ceremony was hosted by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who also is leaving active duty. Mullen called Petraeus and his wife, Holly, "national treasures."

Petraeus will take over as CIA director on Sept. 6.