I will be speaking more about my interview with British Deputy Commanding General Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster in a forthcoming piece about training Iraqi security forces, but he said a few things that are worth highlighting here.
To speak with Gen. Aylwin-Foster is to know that he has enjoyed his time in Iraq. “I don’t think it’s an overstatement at all to say that this is a life changing experience,” he said. “It’s not often that you get to be around for the birth of a nation. . . . That’s something to be cherished.”
At the end of the interview, I offered him what I call the open mic (pronounced "mike")—an opportunity to cover something that perhaps I had missed in the course of the interview, or to emphasize any point that he would like to make. He used this opportunity to emphasize how critical it is that U.S. and U.K. support for the effort here in Iraq not wane. “If the American public continues to support this campaign, we will succeed. And conversely, if they don’t, we won’t.” This makes the incessant, selective, and negative drumbeat by the media--the window for the American public to Iraq--all the more disturbing.