In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Gen. Waleed

I didn’t know him well. But from my few conversations with the man, I gathered he was a true Iraqi Patriot and that he loved wearing suits and he kind of reminded me of Bill Cosby... I could just picture him in front of his grandchildren daring them to pull his finger. Of course, it’s considered an insult in Iraq to fart on somebody, but still he just had an avuncular quality to him. Gen. Waleed Kashmoula was the anti-corruption director in Mosul. He was killed this past week by insurgents. At his funeral, insurgents attacked the mourners. Can you imagine us attacking an enemy’s funeral? Just think of how much media coverage that would receive. But, this particular attack barely even made the typical “elsewhere in Iraq” paragraph at the bottom of the daily wrap-up story. Still the question lingers… what type of people attack a funeral? Well, it’s people who have no regard for human life. Waleed was a man who believed in Iraq and his death is truly tragic. It pains me, but I know his efforts in rebuilding the country and stopping terrorism will lead to a free and Democratic Iraq. But for now, I just want to share a few stories of this fine man.

Many people in my unit were close to Waleed. He invited us over to his place for dinner once. And although I wasn’t able to go, my colonel and two captains attended. They feasted with his entire family and were the guests of honor. A family man, Waleed would bring his children and grandchildren to the palace to meet us. His grandkids hugged us like we were family. And Waleed asked us atypical questions like… did you talk to your mom? You should talk to your mom. She misses you.

But what I’ll remember most about the man was the way he dressed. He wore silk suits every day and shiny shoes. He had huge ears. I, too, have dumbo ears so any time I meet another big-eared fellow we hit it off right off the bat. He was bald and had these few hairs that he’d comb over kind of like Homer Simpson. A very educated man, he spoke perfect English.

I’m sure he’ll be remembered by most for his awesome dedication to the Iraqi people. He was largely the reason Mosul opened one of the largest Iraqi Joint Command Centers (JCC), where leaders from all Iraqi security forces coordinate and work together. He also helped the governor of Ninevah make important security decisions. And he was one of the first people dignitaries wanted to meet with, including General Casey and Donald Rumsfeld. And now the man we, the Americans, trusted and believed in is gone. But I believe there will be others like him.

Just normal everyday citizens are taking their arms and fighting insurgents, foiling the evildoers plan to plant a roadside bomb here or there. And little kids are providing the coalition with tangible intelligence on insurgent training camps and the homes of terrorists. It’s almost as if the Iraqis are saying “enough is enough.” And they know we’ll be there to support them as their country only grows stronger. As each day passes, it’s apparent that Iraqis are growing more confident and the insurgents are becoming weaker. The new government will succeed and Iraqi will truly be free.

I just wish the Iraqis like Samir and Waleed were there to witness it. At least, their children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy freedom one day. Knowing Samir and Waleed, that fact would put a smile on their face.


At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Sammy said...

One of the things I had noticed about some of the Iraqis I dealt with on a day to day basis, whether it was Samir or CPT Najeeb and General Ramazan with the Kurdish Peshmurga, it was the importance of family. They were always asking about when I would be able to go home on leave to see my family.

When the day came to finally leave, CPT Najeeb and General Ramazan expressed to me how happy they were that myself and others in the unit were going to be able to go home to our families.


At 3:24 PM, Blogger Always Question said...

I hate to say it but... you're right.
Afghanistan dropped of the main screen of MSNBC awhile ago, and today there's nothing about Iraq at all. Google's main screen has one piece on Lebanon, and that's it.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Ahmad said...

What a nice story, thanks for sharing.

It is very sad that people like Waleed get killed by ignorant sick people. Terrible.

I hope you and the Iraqis will finish the terrorists sooner rather than later.

By the way, family is very important to us. Its like your backbone!

Take care.

At 10:21 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

I am sorry, and thank you for sharing.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger FVK said...

Sorry for your loss.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger Kim said...

It's amazing how you can take something so sad and put us right there and make us think about it... great post Sminkie

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Huntress said...

Gen Waleed's death is unfortunate and he will be deeply missed. He lit the way for freedom and democray in Iraq and by fiat, throughout the Arab nation. That flame fueled by his courageous spirit, and his great love for his family, friends, the US Troups, and the Iraqi nation,
will remain forever lit. He leaves a legacy of courage and hope to his beloved Iraqi citizens, and the world was a better place for his presence.

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Rhodent said...

I find myself wondering about the impact of losing so many good, decent educated, brave, and talented Iraqis and Americans. The terrorists continue to target many of the most capable Iraqis thinking that this will eliminate the ability of Iraq to succeed as a free nation. At the same time, America is losing many of our best. I believe the efforts for a free Iraq will succeed, but at a great cost to the world.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

We (Americans and Iraqis) have lost so many fine fathers and sons... but it would dishonor all of them to give up the dream -- and the fight -- until it is done... We believe in the dream. It is those things that we have in common that will help the Iraqis live the dream of Gen. Waleed.

As for the media - "War? What War?"

At 3:48 AM, Blogger Toni said...

Wish I could put together my regrets like Huntress so I'll just say regrets and sympathy. It's too bad terrorists target the 'good' ones while others get by.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger devildog6771 said...

Thank you for sharing this "Eulogy" for a great Iraqi patriot. It is such a shame the media refuses to recognize the progress and heros in the War in Iraq.

But your tribute to Gen. Waleed will further cement his love of Iraq and his dedication to a free, democratic Iraq in the minds of his people and people all over the world.

They will serve as an inspiration to continue the fight for freedom and democracy there by Iraqis.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

What a touching story. I hope your optimistic view of Iraq is true. A military mom...Cathy

At 5:44 AM, Blogger devildog6771 said...

I realize I am off topic, but I wanted to wish you and yours a Happy Easter.

At 4:29 PM, Anonymous ali (the real ali) said...

Sallam Allaikum

My name is Ali Al-Wasati, Iam an arab shia living in london due to my father's involvement in the Shia uprising in the south in 1991.

This is the first I enter your site, and after reading the comments section, it brings a tear to my eyes seeing how many americans Have love for us Iraqis, and really want us to succeed. It makes me feel special :)

Its so oppoisite when I see other arabs from outside Iraq. They would rather like to see Iraq burn with its people so America could fail and look bad.

Recent poll (you can read this from Big Pharoh), shows 63% of people in najaf (where heavy fighting took place between Mahdi Militia and American forces) want American soldiers to remain. That tells it all.

Thankyou so much for your work


At 7:14 PM, Blogger Amber Lynn said...

I read Ali's comment and got goose bumps all over my body.

We do want them to succeed. And we want the US to succeed.

At 6:46 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

SMINK! WHERE ARE YOU??? You need to check in! we are waiting to hear how your doing.

At 7:08 PM, Blogger JJ said...


I heard that they arrested the SOB that took part in the murder of Gen. Waleed. I hope that's true.

Keep posting my friend. Your stories are some of the best.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger suesiq said...

I am so sorry about Gen. Waleed's death. Sounds like he was a very fine man who appreciated life and his country and those helping to get Iraq back on it's feet.

I do hope and pray that you guys find someone else who can be as kind and helpful as this general was.

I hope it's true that they did catch whomever killed him.

At 4:52 AM, Blogger Bill Adams said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

At 3:35 PM, Blogger David Pakman said...

Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.


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