Besides supervising the slow reconstruction of the city’s battered utility grid and street network, the soldiers also spend time refereeing disputes between citizens of different ethnic backgrounds.
“It gets a little irritating at times, because all you do is listen to people’s problems,” Ruiz said.
“Helping these people is a different kind of feeling,” he added. “You can see yourself making a difference.”
One of the biggest problems was simply getting the Iraqi bureaucrats to do their jobs. Even upper-level officials had been conditioned by years of dictatorship to do nothing without orders.
After weeks of frustration, Wright and Capt. Mike Ohman, 27, said they discovered that memos — preferably bearing an official-looking seal — usually will prod an Iraqi civil servant into action.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
"YOU CAN SEE YOURSELF MAKING A DIFFERENCE"