Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com The Barnyard: Eating The Goat

Monday, December 24, 2007

Eating The Goat

Ouch, but actually goat is really good so all kidding aside, this is a must read piece at Real Clear Politics on the Provincial Recontruction Teams (PRTs) and their work in rebuilding Iraq. This is the sort of ground up approach that has been key to Gen. Petraeus' strategy of engaging the locals to find out their needs beyond basic security and then working with the local leaders to deliver those services, clean water, power, sewage disposal, garbage disposal, etc. This builds trust among the populace and creates much needed jobs removing the toehold for terrorist gangs. Here's a clip but read the whole thing.

Next, O'Friel engaged the provincial council to determine what needs were most urgent. Corruption was a problem, O'Friel tells me, but doing good "is our sword." When his team would finish a project in one neighborhood, like installing a sewage system, he would learn that the local inhabitants of a nearby neighborhood would demand the same from their town leaders. And so, little by little, the corruption has dissipated, first at the local level and then moving up to the provincial level. O'Friel says one of his greatest accomplishments so far has been to develop "a coalition of support within the provincial council that wants to do things differently."

O'Friel also went to the local Iraqi Army unit to ask its help in delivering needed medical care to several rural neighborhoods. The commander, O'Friel said, was skeptical. But after delivering medical care to 1,000 men, women and children on a single day, he changed. "He drank the Kool-Aid," is how O'Friel describes the reaction."Now he wants to do more."

It's small steps like these that serve as O'Friel's metrics for success. "If I can get this army general, who was very skeptical whether this medical program would work, now telling me that he wants to do more, that's a metric," he said. "If I can get members of the provincial council, who were originally trying to scam me, to turn around and offer good projects, that's a metric."

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