Another week has gone by here in Iraq, we did some meetings with various people and did allot of paperwork and ‘engagements.’ Engagements are what they call the meetings we have with our counterparts. Having done this now for about two months and spoken to nearly everyone I can in my area, I have one thing to say. The Iraqis like their system and do not really want it to change. There is allot of corruption here and the very society prevents it from working like our system. Here, the saying goes, he with the most toys has the most power. Ok, not really. I made that up, but it really is a fact of the society here. If I have four cars and you have one, I have more power, even if those things sit out in the yard and rot, I still have more cars than you. End of story. In our Army, we forcast needs and keep some parts on hand, extra equipment and supplies so that when people need them, we can push these out to them at a faster rate. Here, that is like telling them the breath water. It just does not compute. I can get the lower ranking people to agree with me that our system makes more sense than theirs, but they are not the guy with the most toys, so of course it makes sense. Those in power never ever want to give up the basis for their power.
Now, don’t take this to mean that everything is broken, their system is sort of working, for what they need and want to do, but just not on a comparable, even remotely the same planet, as ours does. Additionally, I see two other main problems here. One is the fact that they do not communicate like we do. If I need something from another section in the army, I go there and ask, if needed, I ask the correct proceedures and we execute them. Here, they like to sit in their offices and be in charge of their little island. Nothing else. Getting them to go and communicate with other offices is as painful as pulling teeth. One other serious problem is inacuracy of data. I have asked one head guy a question, gotten one answer, then asked his three subordinates and gotten completely different answers. If they cannot agree in the same office, imagine the discrepancies we get when we talk between on brigade and a battalion! It is insane, many times a roadblock to what we are trying to do.
Sometimes I almost feel as if they are just appeasing us, just waiting us out, for the time to come when Obama pulls us out.