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Post Checkpoint Murder Conversation

2009 August 10
by ironcamelarmy

A couple of weeks ago, we went to investigate the murder of three young police officers at their checkpoint.  Again, the individuals manning their check point were caught sleeping on duty and shot.  Sometimes I listen in amazement at some of these conversations.

The Iraqi General sat himself down behind the battalion commander’s desk (This is a typical maneuver by leaders.  When someone higher ranking comes to visit their desk chair is offered). With all the other Generals and Colonels and various leaders sitting around the office, to include me, a US Colonel and our translators, the tongue lashing began.  He called for the officer in charge of the guards from last night.  When he came into the room, he stood next to the desk at the position of attention.  As it stands, the Army is control of the National Police and the Traffic Police.

Iraqi General:  “Your sideburns are long.”

Police Captain:  “Nam, Sadie” (Yes, sir.)

General:  “You look fat.”

Captain:  “Nam, Sadie.”

General:  “You need to trim your sideburns and lose some weight.”

Captain:  “Nam, Sadie.”

At this point I’m thinking, “What the what?  Sideburns?  Fat?  Three soldiers were murdered.  Dip-shit.”

General:  “How come the soldiers didn’t have food or water?”

Captain:  “They get it themselves.”

General:  “How? They’re not supposed to leave their post.”

Oops!  I guess the Captain forgot that one.

General:  “So the jinood (soldiers) were outside in the sun all day without food and water.  Then at night, they couldn’t stay awake.  Did you even think to check on them?”

Captain:  “Nam, Sadie.”

General:  “Not enough.  They were sleeping when they were murdered.”

After that, the General continued on his tirade with the Captain standing there listening.  He discussed how leaders should check on their soldiers and provide them with food, water and shade at their checkpoints.  It never ceases to amaze me that they Iraqi leadership just doesn’t get it.  They would treat a camel better.

After about 30 minutes, almost as an afterthought, the General told the Captain that he would spend time and jail and lose a couple of weeks pay.  I thought the Captain was going to cry.  Don’t think for a minute he was sad because the police died.  He was sad because he was going to jail and losing money.

In a couple of nights, we would follow the General around as he inspects his checkpoints.  He will catch the first one or two checkpoints out of uniform or sleeping in their trucks.  When he does catch them, he has them thrown in jail for an undetermined amount of time after their shift is complete.  As soon as he leaves, the guards call their buddies and they are all standing at attention in the right uniform saluting us as we drive by.

Problem solved, right?

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