Throw Out Your American Experience part 1
I have had the opportunity to interview Brigadier General Edward Cardon, Deputy Commanding General (Support) Multi-National Division-Center(MND-C), one-on-one. We last talked in a Bloggers’ Roundtable on January 24.
My thanks to General Cardon for his time and patience with this interview and this interviewer. My thanks to Major Alayne Conway, MND-C Deputy PAO, for facilitating the interview with the telephone tag. And a great big thank you to both of them and all the men and women of Task Force Marne for their service to the United States.
MND-C is also known as Task Force Marne. Its major area of responsibility is the security zones located along the southern edge of Baghdad and scales from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Iran. MND-Center is headquartered by the 3rd Infantry Division from Fort Stewart, Georgia.
“Throw out your American experience; it’s making it worse” – General Cardon on how to work with the Iraqis. The General talked extensively about the necessity of building relationships with Iraqis. The country, the culture, operates on a relationship basis. He was emphatic that, as our military rotates, the incoming troops and officers already understand this and working with the Iraqis is much simpler. Our people arrive trained in the Iraqi culture, where a good meal and a cup of tea afterwards counts as much as getting right to business.
Iraq operates as a cash economy. There is no banking system as we understand it. Every soldier, every policeman, every concerned local citizen (CLC) is paid in cash. While the United States cannot control what they do with that money, we are very careful to ensure that we are paying the individual. The Iraqi national government, the leadership of the military and our troops have worked very hard to end the corruption that that much cash can breed.
He talked about the 100 trucks of fuel that arrive daily from Iran, as discussed in the last interview. He wonders how much of that makes it to official fuel centers and how much ends up being sold by kids alongside the road in the black market.
The other side of this is that our troops have come to understand that just because a suspect has a large amount of money, he is not necessarily a “bad guy”. It may be his life savings.
The insurgents, AQI and others, also need cash. Some of that is coming through the black market, such as illegal fuel sales. Kidnapping rings were another means of making money, though kidnappings are far less common now.
The CLCs are making a difference. They know their neighborhood, who belongs and who does not.
- Recent CLC Activities:
- VBIED discovered, two detained (Arab Jabour)
- CLCs contribute to finding enemy weapons (Arab Jabour)
- Concerned Local Citizens work to rid their areas of IEDs (Sabbah Nissan)
- MND Soldiers, Iraqi Police conduct combined operation with CLCs in support of Operation Phantom Phoenix
- Sixteen IEDs, cache turned in by CLCs
- Iraqis in the Lead:
- Iraqi Security Forces Gain in Capability, Professionalism
- Emergency Response Unit Reinforces Iraqi Security Forces in An Nasiriyah
- Ministry of Interior Celebrates Police Day, 1044 Graduate Baghdad Police College
- Giant Step Forward: Iraqi Police Assume Security Mission in Anbar Province City
- CF, IA work together to clear out al-Qaeda
Table of contents for Cardon interview
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008 at 9:32 am and is filed under Original writing, Original writing, Reporting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.