So, what does he think about the war? He’s not telling.
Few Americans know more about commanding a counterinsurgency in the Middle East against an extremist Islam-fueled enemy than Odierno, Army chief of staff. But trying asking him about Afghanistan, and the former commanding general of the Iraq war will tell you it’s not his place to go there.
On Friday, the E-Ring asked Odierno why.
“I keep my comments internal for several reasons,” he said, at the Military Reporters and Editors conference, on Friday in Washington. “I provide my comments privately back, internal, to the organization. Why? Because I know what it feels like to be a commander in Iraq, and I understand that it doesn’t help if the chief of staff of the Army is back here making comments about Afghanistan.”
Odierno recently visited Afghanistan, he said, and keeps in close contact with Allen.
“Gen. Allen and I are very close, we served together several times in Iraq together. And so I’m here to assist them … in a way to make sure the Army is prepared, and I focus my time on making sure we’re is prepared.”
“I don’t think it’s my place right now to be talking about policy and development of what that course of action, or, in Afghanistan. That’s Gen. Allen’s job, that’s [Central Command's] Gen. [James] Mattis’ job, that’s the chairman’s job,” he said, speaking of Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey.
“Do I give them advice? I do, and I give it to them quite regularly and I’m not afraid to tell them what I think. But I don’t feel like right now it’s my position to be out publicly talking about it.”
Win McNamee/Getty Images