November 21, 2009

Lady Sky

The New York Times profiles one of the great counterinsurgents of the contemporary era ... and a great friend and mentor to this blogger.

RARELY does the hulking commander of American forces in Iraq meet with Iraqis or go to a news conference without a slight, dark-haired woman standing just a little to one side — as if to give him space, but almost always in his line of sight and within earshot.


The woman is Emma Sky, and she is an unlikely figure in the milieu of the generally strait-laced American military. She is British, 41, a civilian and a onetime opponent of the war, but nevertheless a political adviser, as well as confidante on many policy matters to the American commander, Gen. Ray Odierno.


She is often compared to Gertrude Bell, a celebrated early-20th-century British adventurer who was an architect of modern Iraq. That may be an overstatement, but Ms. Sky is nevertheless, like Ms. Bell, a woman to be reckoned with.