A visit from the General
When we first arrived at Phoenix Academy [the location where Military Transition Teams receive their final training] we had a couple of distinguished visitors drop by. First, LTG Austin, the commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, came by and gave us his take on the fight, as well as his priorities for the year. Then we had GEN Petraeus stop in and go straight to Q&A.
I was the first person he pointed to and solicited a question from…
I didn’t hold back either. I point blank asked him if the Iraqi logistics system was broken. He said it wasn’t, but that it did need help to keep improving. He pointed out that you can turn out a rifleman or even a rifle company in a reasonable amount of time, but logisticians and leaders that understand and appreciate logistics take much longer
Fair enough, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.
GEN Petraeus also gave an amazing summary of where we had been and where we were. I like to think I was reasonably kept informed, and I was a bit startled. But he said he wasn’t doing any victory dances in the endzone right now. We face an increasingly desperate enemy who has shown they can adapt at the tactical level, and will resort to anything in order to intimidate, kill or destroy. But our progress was undeniable – and he mentioned that he wasn’t selling sunshine, he was selling reality.
He also made a couple of humorous cracks on himself about testifying in front of Congress – good to see in a 4 star officer.
One of his final points was on dealing with the press. He told us we just had to do two things; tell the truth – good or bad, and get the story out there, soonest. He showed a close grasp of how the news cycle works, for TV especially so.
All in all, a very thought provoking event.