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Iraqi Colonel's Passion Unabated by Daughter's Slaying

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2005 – Passion for his country, pride in his soldiers and acceptance of his own personal sacrifice are traits exuded by Col. Abbas Fadhil, the Iraqi military commander in Taji, Iraq, a senior Defense Department official recalled here after meeting him in Iraq.

Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Allison Barber, who led a group of military analysts on a visit to Iraq the week of Oct. 17, said that in the first several months after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the colonel began recruiting soldiers to join the new Iraq military. After he had been on television several times, pro-Saddam terrorists attacked his home and killed his 7-month-old daughter.

"As the colonel told the story, he said the death of his daughter gives him more motivation to do what is right for Iraq," Barber said, adding that he said, "The death of my daughter is the price of freedom."

He went on to explain that Iraq is his first country, Barber said, but that "America is my second country. I want some day to build a big bridge from Iraq to America so everyone can see how we are together."

Abbas is responsible for the Iraqi military training facility in Taji. "The colonel is optimistic about the progress of his military and their ability to capture the insurgents and protect the Iraqi people," Barber said, "but he is quick to acknowledge that the American troops need to continue helping their forces."

Barber recalled that when Abbas was asked if U.S. forces should leave Iraq soon, he put his hand over his heart and said, "Oh please, don't say that. We need you here for a few more years to help bring security to our country while we build our forces."

The colonel, Barber said, knows he has a price on his head. "Although the insurgents have offered a large sum of money for the death of Abbas, he exudes confidence and a clear vision of what he wants for Iraq," she noted, "and what he is willing to sacrifice to accomplish that goal."

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