Iraq: June 19, 2004

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The major concerns of Iraqis are jobs and crime. The jobs problem is making notable progress month to month. But the crime situation seems to get worse. Between the kidnappers, carjackers and terrorists, getting a job just appears to just make you a more attractive target for the crooks. While the Iraqi police only get attention when some of them turn out of be working for the terrorists (usually via a bribe, not conviction), most of the police and security troops are keen on cracking down on crime. But they see their biggest obstacle as the American troops, who are "too weak." Not weak in combat power, but in the way they approach the crime problem. To most Iraqis, the only problem with the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American troops  is that Iraqi policemen should have been doing it. Iraqis know only one way to deal with crime, and it involves far more brutal and arbitrary tactics than Americans use. The new interim government plans to change the rules of crime fighting come July 1st. This is liable to cause problems, as international human rights advocates rush to the defense of suspected criminals being brutalized by the Iraqi police. But the Iraqis don't care. They will tolerate whatever it takes to make the streets safe again.

 

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