Thursday, September 4, 2003
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Now this is managing
A perfect follow-up to today's post on Bush's management of the Iraq situation comes in the form of this New York Times story on the job Major General David H. Petraeus is doing commanding the 101st Airborne in Northern Iraq. [Petraeus, Petraeus... that name sounds familiar--ed. I've blogged about him before.] A few nuggest from the story suggest the kind of management skills necessary to get results:
Obviously, the art of management at Bush's level is slightly different than at Petraeus' level. Still, the general's clear definition of the mission and willingness to take action should resonate in the White House.posted by Dan on 09.04.03 at 04:49 PM
Here we have Paul Wolfowitz, in Senate testimony from July 29:
Mr. Chairman, in the north we saw another success story, led by General David Petraeus and his troops of the 101st Air Assault Division, who arrived in Mosul on the 22nd of April, I would note, after liberating Najaf and Karbala in the south. Over the next 30 days, they put together an impressive list of accomplishments. In my written testimony, I have some 20 of them. I won't take your time; you can read them.
What I would like to mention, though, is just one example of the kind of imagination and ingenuity that his troops are doing. We took a walking tour of the center of Mosul with an Army company responsible for security in that area. And security is a serious business. They, a few weeks ago, captured seven terrorists, I believe mostly foreigners, holed up in an apartment in the town square. Since getting rid of those people, it's been stable. But they go around in full body armor and guns at the ready.
But as we were passing a line of butcher shops, the company commander, Captain Paul Stanton (sp), told me a fascinating story about how they had dealt with a problem involving the town's meat cutters. It seems that the butchers were slaughtering their animals on the streets and dumping the carcasses in front of their shops. To get this rather unsanitary problem under control, our soldiers organized a civic association of butchers so that they would have an authoritative institution with which they could deal. This was something unheard of in prewar Iraq. In the old regime, organized associations weren't allowed. For this purpose, they weren't necessary. If there was a problem dumping carcasses in the street, you simply shot a few butchers and the rest got the point.
We deal differently. And when I heard this imaginative solution, I jokingly asked Captain Stanton (sp) if they taught him that at West Point, and of course he said no.
He said they'd had to figure that out as they went along. But of course, that something that Americans, including our wonderful soldiers, have in their fingertips is something that they bring from the civic culture in this country to help build a civic culture in Iraq.
Just to note that their good work has not gone unnoticed.
I read that NYT story on General Petraeus and it was indeed a pleasure to read about somebody actually getting it right in Iraq. Perhaps he should be made the Viceroy....posted by: Ritu on 09.04.03 at 04:49 PM [permalink]
Here is a guy that 'gets it'. Toss out Bremer and his bureacrats and put him in charge.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.04.03 at 04:49 PM [permalink]
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