Thursday, December 25, 2014

Old home day in Kabul

There was one day I spent in Kabul that felt like old home week. I interviewed two top members of General David Petraeus's team who came from the Philly area.

Old home day in Kabul

Lt Gen David Rodriguez, from West Chester PA.
Lt Gen David Rodriguez, from West Chester PA.

   There was one day I spent in Kabul that felt like old home week. I interviewed two top members of General David Petraeus’s team who came from the Philly area.

    Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez is the deputy commander of U.S. forces and heads the joint command of coalition forces. That means he directs day to day operations of all coalition forces in Afghanistan.

    The tall, craggy Rodriguez grew up in Westchester PA, where his father worked at Luken Steel.  After attending Henderson High School, he went on to West Point, Class of 1976. His bother is a UPenn grad. Rodriguez came back to West Chester last year to get inducted into his high school’s hall of fame.

     As I was chatting with LG Rodriguez about Philly, another senior officer interjected that he was from the Camden area, but left before I could get his particulars.

    I also met with  Brig. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who grew up in Roxborough, where he still has a large contingent of relatives, whom I got to meet when he spoke at the National Constitution Center last year.  McMaster, is deputy to Petraeus for for planning, also heads a special anti-corruption task force at ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) headquarters in Kabul. He made waves with his 1998 book, Dereliction of Duty, that criticized U.S. military strategy in the Vietnam war.

     Had I known there was such a prominent Philly-area contingent at headquarters I would have brought some along some soft pretzels from home.   

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
About this blog

Trudy Rubin’s Worldview column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. In 2009-2011 she has made four lengthy trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past seven years, she visited Iraq eleven times, and also wrote from Iran, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, China, and South Korea.

She is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004. In 2001 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary and in 2008 she was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for international reporting. In 2010 she won the Arthur Ross award for international commentary from the Academy of American Diplomacy.

Reach Trudy at trubin@phillynews.com.

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
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