Thursday, January 10, 2008

Beanie Babies lead the way

I was amused to see the quote yesterday in the Army’s Stand-to E-Mail newsletter


“Relationships are what this is all about. I think, in truth, relationships are what everything is all about, whether our own home life or international relations. And all we are trying to do is, sort of, one handshake at a time or one smile at a time, one Beanie Baby at a time, to add a little joy and strength to this relationship.”

--Gen. David H. Petraeus, emphasizing the importance of relationships in achieving common goals in Iraq.

As a member of GEN Petraeus’s MNSTC-I staff I had the opportunity to develop relationships with many Iraqi people…at the Ministry level and out in the countryside. A tenet constantly reinforced in every transaction, meeting and event in MNSTC-I was the partnership aspect in creating conditions for success in Iraq.

I happened to receive a case of Beanie Babies from a co-worker stateside while in Iraq and took the opportunity to hand them out as I did to this little guy. It seemed natural to treat the Iraqi’s with respect and friendship in the environment at MNSTC-I. GEN Petraeus knew we often gave stuff out at the various sites…he demanded fairness and partnership with Iraqis and their Leadership for all members of the command.

If we could apply his model on a larger scale – the ability to add a little joy and strength to a relationship - we just may prevail.

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