American Marine on Local government in Ramadi

We are trying to empower [the Iraqis] to walk post instead of Marines but the graft has not yet taken. There is something culturally childish in their understanding of basic Western governance and management that will require immeasurable education and probably several generations to overcome if they find it of any interest. That education is, of course, a choice that they have to make on their own. They are not our people. Our understanding of their tribal governance and its relationship to formal civic management is equally naive and charges our frustration. The problem now is that their every inconvenience has become our responsibility. They act as if they can not comprehend our sacrifices and are thus ungrateful for them. The reality is that they can not, culturally, comprehend our altruism or believe our stated intentions. Even though it is not their desire to offend, we are insulted and it bleeds us of affection and tolerance. Liberation will compete with invasion as our legacy but locally we are ideologically irrelevant. Our presence is, mostly, only of interest to those who seek to benefit from our contracts and donations. It is a region of people making alliances, business deals, friendships and enemies one day at a time without a real concept of sustainable services, resources, or trust. No future. Just daily survival as they know it. Family and tribe. Our contributions may be counted long after we have withdrawn but they will not recount the names of the fallen. So many now. Each wound will be absorbed into the quiet sadness that we allow to pass beneath us as a people and a country. Our loss will have never even occurred to most people here.

So what news about the new government you may ask. Well the Provisional Military Governor was replaced by the Transitional Governor who resigned under threat and was replaced with another Transitional Governor. He was then replaced by the Emergency Appointed Governor who was just replaced by the selected Governor chosen by the elected Provincial Council. He never made a speech or publicized his views, never debated the other candidates and was not present during the selection, never making an acceptance speech. He was promptly kidnapped by a rival tribe while his tribe fought another tribe on the Syrian border. The recently displaced Emergency Appointed Governor returned in hopes of regaining the position however, the Deputy Governor is now serving as the Acting Governor while the actual Selected Governor is in captivity. But there was an election so democracy is in full bloom I am to understand.

We are now trying to force the power of decision onto the elected ProvincialCouncil and the city officials. It is a difficult thing to keep myself inactive in matters of governance here. The instinct to impose order and command the requisite discipline in the Iraqi leadership must be quelled in order to allow sovereign stewardship to develop at its native pace and in a native form. I fight myself to remain insignificant in the process. I haven’t the nature for passive observation. I share the American fascination with action and it has consistently betrayed us in our foreign policy. Our continued involvement will continue the state of dependency and our eventual departure will leave nothing but cosmetic structure here. Iraq will return to what it is. Our common sense is not common to this people and that understanding must be given proper respect. I domy best but I twitch with an urge for the folly of intrusion.



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