By Seth Littrell
Register News Writer
Eastern Kentucky University’s ROTC cadets, as well as a number of other students and administrators, were visited Thursday afternoon by Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green, who spoke to the group on leadership.
Green is a former special operations flight surgeon in the U.S. military, and was part of the team of soldiers which captured Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While participating in that mission, Green interviewed Hussein for six hours.
He described the dictator of Iraq as “aloof, but charming” during the time he was with him.
“Saddam was a true megalomaniac,” Green said.
He recalled asking Hussein why he had ordered the invasion of Kuwait, beginning the first Gulf War. Hussein gave several reasons concerning jurisdiction and oil fields, but Green said the dictator’s last reason fascinated him.
“He (Hussein) said, ‘You know, the cradle of civilization comes from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. All of mankind comes from Iraq. Everyone on the planet is an Iraqi, and I am the president of Iraq. I am the president of the world.’”
Green said he was in Kentucky assisting state Rep. Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, with his campaign and was asked to take time and speak to the cadets at EKU about leadership in both the military and private sectors.
He said being a leader is about developing bonds, or a culture, to share with those who follow you. He referenced how, in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples despite being their leader.
Green said that leadership is about inspiring people to work for you through a respectful connection to them, rather than by pulling rank.
“If you’re getting people to listen to you simply because you outrank them, you probably aren’t at a place you want to be,” he said.
The advice is effective in both the military and business worlds, he said, referencing his time in the private sector as a medical doctor.
When asked why he went into politics, Green said that he believes “millions of Americans have been left behind,” by the Obama administration. He described his decision to run for office as being almost divinely inspired while he and his son toured the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
After the talk, Green and Shell attended a campaign fundraiser for Shell at Heritage House in Richmond.
Seth Littrell can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6623.