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Iraqi General 'Completely Committed' to Reforming Military

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2006 – The man chosen to lead the Iraqi military's Center for Military Values, Principles and Leadership said he is "completely committed" to reforming the Iraqi armed forces.

"We have witnessed five decades of hardships, and the Iraqi personality in general has changed enormously because of them," retired Army Maj. Gen. Nabil Abdul Kadir said.

The general has 46 years of service in the Iraqi army. He has commanded at all levels from platoon through division, he said, and has maintained strict professional behavior in a time of turmoil and repression.

The general came from a military family, and said he used to accompany his father on visits to posts and bases. "Although I was a little child, (what) I will never forget is the type of relationships among officers, between officers and (noncommissioned officers), and between officers and their soldiers," he said. "It was built on respect and the appreciation of human beings."

Officers cared for their men and put their needs first, he said. Soldiers understood that their officers were concerned about them and would give them the help they needed to succeed.

"That attitude has changed since the revolution of 1958," he said. The attitude became one of fear and entitlement. Political cronies - rather than professional leaders - took the jobs in the Army. "I want to see (the old attitude of respect) restored back to our army," he said.

Nabil said he would like to bring back the core values of the Iraqi military. If all goes well, the center will have a lot to do with that restoration.

The Iraqi military - working with coalition representatives - will develop the core values of the Iraqi military and then write doctrine and design training to reinforce those values.

It cannot happen too soon, Nabil said. "I was gravely concerned to see the behavior of some of the (Iraqi) soldiers in the streets," he said. "It doesn't go along with our beliefs; it doesn't go with our culture. (The soldiers) are so rude, so ruthless, and it is not acceptable. It is widening the gap between military and civilians. I want to see that gap closed, completely."

The general, 64, said he will do all he can to repair the damage the dictatorship made in the military. As a professional military officer, he said, he felt betrayed by what happened to the army.

"This is my country. This is my army. My father served in the army, as did two brothers - one of whom was killed. We simply are an army family and I am completely committed to the reform of the institution," he said.

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