June 23rd, 2010
04:17 PM ET

Security Brief: The politics of being a top general


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/23/c1main.honore.gi.jpg caption="Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore knows about the pressure of being a top general." width=300 height=169]

As a lieutenant general in the U.S. Army, Russel Honore was never one to sugarcoat anything. He became known as the "Category 5 General" for the way he commanded the military response to Hurricane Katrina, which was also a mission that thrust him squarely into the media spotlight.

"I learned from six weeks of almost 12- to 18-hour days, about dealing with the media," says Honore, who now is a paid consultant to CNN on issues such as the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

"When I was in Katrina, I was always asked how I feel about it. What the sh** do you mean, how do I feel about it? This is what I think. If I'm a leader, I have a mission," Honore says. "I ain't answering no feeling question."

The man in charge knew that anything he might say at any point during those long days might come back to haunt him, and in fact, there were some who didn't like Honore's style at all, but he says he tried hard never to let his guard down too much when talking with the media.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Annie Kate

    Honore did a good job on his work with the aftermath of Katrina. Too bad he's not working on this oil spill mess; I'm sure that the current job is huge enough for more than 1 commander.

    June 23, 2010 at 6:54 pm |

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