Friday, May 16, 2003

You know things are bad in Iraq when even the New York Post acknowledges it:

...soldiers see the reservoir of Iraqi goodwill draining away while bureaucrats take their time holding meetings and making plans as if time were somehow not an issue. They fear that their successors here will face an intifada in the summer if power, water, medicine, gasoline and food don't start reaching Iraqi civilians.

"We ain't helping these people" says Sgt. Johnny Perdue of the 4/64 Scouts. It's just so f----ing frustrating. ORHA [the Organization for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid] say they're doing it. Well, they're not doing it in the places we go."

"I'm no bleeding heart" says Sgt. Leon "Pete" Peters (who had more than his share of kills during the fighting south of the city). "I'll pull the trigger quick as anyone. But this place is going to go crazy if we don't find a way to help these people . . . I've been here for more than 30 days and I've yet to see a single yellow humanitarian food package."

He asks why American companies aren't being brought over to fix the electricity here. "You could get a message out to real Americans like the company I used to work for, and they'd come over here and get the power back on in a week." ...

The failure of ORHA and the Civil Affairs teams to have an impact in the street is particularly galling to men like Sgts. Peters and Perdue, who are working 19 hours a day, much of them spent walking through alleys ankle deep in uncollected trash. The bureaucrats, on the other hand, work civilian hours....

The Civil Affairs brigades are also notorious for failing to keep appointments with the locals. They'll put out a call for some kind of local professionals, telling candidates to turn up at the gate to the palace area at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. But when Tuesday comes, they'll forget to send anyone to get the 300 candidates through security, or cancel the recruiting session without telling anyone (as happened with interpreters in the third week of April).

Sometimes important local officials or informants or even Shia mullahs will be left to stand waiting for hours in the sun....

There are articles like this in the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, the British press, and elsewhere on a regular basis -- Rational Enquirer regularly provides links to these. But I'm surprised to see an article like this in Murdoch's Post.

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