Bremer is taking over a very troubled agency: ORHA - America's inadequate, notoriously slow-moving substitute for an interim occupation government - is as unpopular with the U.S. soldiers on the street as it is with ordinary Iraqis.
And for good reason - even though ORHA is sometimes blamed for the failures of its counterparts in Army Civil Affairs units.
These 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 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."
Friday, May 16, 2003
Jonathan Foreman says that our administrators in Iraq aren't getting the job done. And this could have catastrophic results for our efforts to stabilize Iraq.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 6:17 AM