Myers Arrives in Iraq to Meet With Commanders
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 14, 2004 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived here this evening to begin a whirlwind series of meetings with key commanders in Iraq.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers will meet with Army Gens. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, and George W. Casey Jr., commander of Multinational Force Iraq. He also hopes to talk with other commanders around the country, a senior Defense Department official told reporters traveling with the chairman.
Speaking on background, the official said that although Myers meets regularly with Multinational Force Iraq leaders by video teleconference, he believes talking with them in person is more conducive to the commanders having "a chance to express what they want to express."
The battle to rid Fallujah of terrorists and insurgents is going "pretty well as planned," the official said, and the Iraqi government has organized well for the next phase in Fallujah -- providing food and medical care to the city's people and getting reconstruction under way. "If you don't do that, it's all for naught," he said. "And I know that our Marines have a lot of humanitarian supplies and assistance ready as well."
Iraqi security forces also will be among the topics Myers discusses with commanders, the senior official said. Reports so far give "very high marks" for their performance in Fallujah, he noted.
Having more and more leadership positions held by Iraqi officers is "absolutely critical" to continuing the maturation of the Iraqi forces, he emphasized. "You can train them and equip them at the lower levels," the official said, but Iraqi leadership at the next levels of command can make a huge difference in how well the forces will perform. He said those efforts have been proceeding for some time, and that hopes are to accelerate the pace.