Reality Check for Sunni Arabs (08/28/2005 entry)
Here’s a good post, especially the lengthy discussion of the border patrol situation:
The newly reconstituted border guards are short of radios, sensors (night vision goggles, motion sensors, searchlights), weapons, vehicles, food and fuel. Part of this is just the getting everyone everything while the border guard force is rapidly built from nothing. Saddam’s border guard was pretty corrupt and incompetent, and no great loss. A new one is still being formed.
But a major reason for the material shortages is corruption. An old Iraqi tradition is that, at every level of the bureaucracy, the guy in charge takes a cut of the budget. Not a lot of the money gets down to the individual border guard level. Cracking down on the corruption has been viewed as something of an unnatural act. Iraqis are still split on the corruption issue. Many Iraqis believe that eliminating corruption, in an abstract sense, is a good thing. But when it comes down to the their level, and leaving a bribe on the table, there is much less enthusiasm for clean government. But the American advisors are rubbing everyone’s noses into the results, pointing out that the border guards are ill-equipped because Iraqi officials up the line stole the money. Many Iraqis are not happy with having this pointed out to them, but most make the connection and accept the fact that there is a problem that only Iraqis can solve.
There’s much more and you should go read it.