Given that Natynczyk served in Iraq and did his duty in helping out U.S. imperialism this should not be surprising. Natyncyk was also trained in the U.S. His role in Iraq was so sterling that Canada awarded him a medal. He received a medal for serving the U.S. (sorry the coalition of the billing) occupation (sorry, liberation). I thought Canada opposed the US invasion. Certainly we refused to send troops but nevertheless we sent Natyncyk among others and even saw fit to pin a medal on him for his services to the U.S.Now he will be in charge of the US (sorry NATO, UN mission) to liberate Afghanistan and make it safe for the warlords. Why is it that no commentator thinks that there is something a bit bizarre in giving a medal to someone for serving in a war that we refused to send troops to support.
Natynczyk promotion to CDS popular with U.S. commanders
Canwest News Service
Friday, June 06, 2008
The appointment of Lt.-Gen. Walt Natynczyk to head the Canadian Armed Forces was hailed in Washington on Friday by senior U.S. army officers who worked with him four years ago in Iraq.
"Not only is he a close friend of mine but one of the finest officers I have ever met," said Lt.-Gen. Thomas Metz, who was Natynczyk's boss in Iraq when the Canadian was the deputy commander of the U.S. amy's III Corps and the U.S.-led Multi-National Corps.
"His professionalism and dedication to his country's Armed Forces is unmatched. Fearless in battle, he is a superb choice for this new duty."
Another senior commander, Maj.-Gen. Rick Formica, director of force management for the U.S. army, said: "This is great news for Walt and his family and great news for Canada. That he was selected does not surprise us at all."
Formica and Natynczyk served together when Canada's new chief of defence followed Gen. Rick Hillier to Fort Hood, Texas, as an exchange officer with III Corps. When the corps deployed to Iraq early in 2004, Formica was its senior artillery officer.
"Walt is a courageous operational guy," Formica said. "He is very, very strategically and operationally savvy. Talk to any of the colonels who supported the corps. They loved him. He built a solid team."
Formica's first close working experience with Natynczyk came during an exercise in Korea.
"He was willing to school this young general officer," Formica said. "I was struck by his expertise. I saw this in Korea, I saw it at home in Texas and I saw it in Iraq."
Col. Dan Baggio also served with Natynczyk in Baghdad and until a few weeks ago, was responsible for army media relations at the Pentagon. Baggio, who now works in a joint forces headquarters that has among its responsibilities, defending Washington from attack, described Natynczyk as "the best mentor" he had had during 29 years in the U.S. army.
"I say this from my heart, I honestly have never heard a harsh word about Walt Natynczyk," the colonel said. "He is not a butt chewer, but a true team player. He had a way of interjecting thoughts so well you thought that they were your own ideas. He was open- minded to guidance from his staff and when he disagreed, he disagreed politely. For me, he is the consummate general officer."
Four years ago this spring in Baghdad, Natynczyk was working in a room cluttered with computers and maps in one of Saddam Hussein's many palaces within the Green Zone, which is the huge cordon sanitaire that the U.S. military has carved out for itself near the heart of Baghdad. Other than a red Maple Leaf flag patch on his left shoulder and his Canadian army summer khaki, there were not many traces of Canada to be seen in his office. But Natynczyk was closely following the results of the Ottawa Senators, who were in the playoffs at the time.
While he was in Iraq, Natynczyk helped draw up medium- and long-term war plans for about 145,000 troops. This followed a tour in Bosnia, where he also worked with tens of thousands of U.S. troops.
"It is almost like a conveyor belt," the general said. "We come up with a concept. Others go back to specialist staffs" such as logistics and engineering, to see if it is practical.
"This conflict (in Iraq) is very much a section commander or company commander's fight. They do the here and now. The daily routine. But if, for example, we notice a smuggling trend, the commanding general can say to us, 'Do something about it.'"
Natynczyk's close connection to several senior U.S. commanders should serve him well in his new job overseeing Canada's war in Afghanistan.
Metz now oversees the huge U.S. military effort to counter improvised explosive devices planted by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. The research will be keenly followed by Natynczyk because IEDs have become the top killer of Canadian troops in Kandahar.
In his new job, Natynczyk also will be consulting with Gen. David Petraeus, who runs the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan as the commander of CENTCOM. Natynczyk and Petraeus, who is widely tipped as the next leader of all U.S. forces, also served together in Iraq.
There are only about 60,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen in the entire Canadian Armed Forces. Of them, only 10,000 are combat troops. About 2,500 Canadian troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Speaking four years ago about the huge difference in staffing numbers between the U.S. and Canadian militaries, Natynczyk said: "Our force size may be small but training that officers and NCOs get is first class. When we train, we get staff problems of this magnitude. In Bosnia, I was working with 44,000 soldiers."
Nevertheless, the immense size and scale of the U.S. operation here and the logistics trail required in Iraq to keep "soldier on point in bullets and beans" was hugely impressive, he said.
Natynczyk was sent to Iraq by then-prime minister Jean Chretien. During his year there, he was promoted from brigadier-general to major-general.
Life within the Green Zone in Baghdad, where Natynczyk lived and worked, was and is famously surreal. Thousands of U.S. civilians based there dressed and behaved as if they have had never left Washington's Beltway. However, the war outside was sometimes very close to Natynczyk, such as when a suicide bomber blew up a truck loaded with explosives at the Assassin's Gate, which was near where he worked. Insurgents regularly lobbed mortars into the Green Zone.
One of the highlights of working in Bosnia was that Natynczyk was able to go out on patrols frequently to get a sense of what was going on.
"I don't get out enough here. It's a real problem," Natynczyk said of his staff job in Iraq. "I've not been in a firefight. I have been close to indirect fire and close to IEDs."
In fact, a rocket once crashed through the roof of the building in Baghdad where Natynczyk was working.
Joking, he said: "Please don't tell my wife how close it was."