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Home | The Sunni Heartland | The Unexpected War | Paying the Price

The Unexpected War

part: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Lawlessness Continues

photo: Tom Bullock

For now, it is the American soldiers who look for the guns. Kerick plans to send 28,000 Iraqis for intensive police training courses in a military camp in Hungary. But the new recruits won't be home for 18 months, leaving Baghdad neighborhoods dangerously unprotected.

Which is one reason why Abdul Karim al Awaidi keeps a gun at home. Armed men broke into his Baghdad home in broad daylight. The robbers put a gun to his son's head and demanded money.

"After that," says Awaidi, "maybe, I don't know. Maybe disaster, maybe kill me, kill my wife, kill my children, you know. So I fighting them to avoid this disaster."

With the rest of his family at risk-and his son's life at stake, Awaidi decided to take the law into his own hands. He climbed up on his roof with a rifle he had never used before and shot at the robbers, scaring them away.

Many have not been as lucky. With crime out of control, Iraqis blamed the American-led occupation for turning their country into an ungovernable, lawless mess. Peter Galbraith says that makes the reconstruction harder than it needs to be.

Galbraith explains, "It is a fundamental rule that you cannot occupy and run a country except with the cooperation and support of the people you control. If you have to do it all yourself, you're going to have to send in a vast administrative apparatus. So the United States needed the cooperation and support of Iraqis and respect. And it lost a lot of respect and therefore a lot of cooperation by the way it mishandled the early period following the war."

Next: Segment C - Paying the Price