Iraq: September 19, 2003

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Iraqis, and many European nations, want Iraqis given control of Iraq as soon as possible. The US is refusing to do this, because a major problem in Iraq is corrupt officials and it will take a year or two to identify honest officials and let them work. The idea is that if there is to be a working democracy in Iraq, there has to be an honest judicial system and enough honest officials in charge to give democracy a chance of succeeding. But all other Arab nations, and several European ones (especially France)  prefer the old ways, as do many of the Iraqis eligible for high office. Europeans and Americans also differ in their attitudes towards corruption. In Germany, for example, insider trading and commercial bribery were only recently outlawed (under pressure from the US.) All of this is something of a guilty pleasure. No one wants to talk about dealing with corruption in Iraqi society, but dealing with it is at the core of any successful reform in Iraq.

 

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