Day by Day

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Know all of that boring dull bloodless news about Americans reshaping Iraq that Big Media ignores? Here's a very well-written piece:

Nowhere is the grass-roots push and pull of forging a postwar administration more apparent than in northwestern Iraq.

Here, the 18,000-strong 101st Airborne Division commanded by Maj. Gen. David Petraeus has taken the lead in nation building. It has been the first to train a wide range of new Iraqi forces including infantry, border patrols, and security guards. It has organized local elections in a majority of towns. To stimulate business, General Petraeus ordered the reopening of trade across the Syrian border and is facilitating the first major privatization deal outside Baghdad, a multi- million-dollar hotel contract.

The division has often acted in advance of the civilian-run occupation authority in Baghdad, which for months had virtually no presence in Iraq's 18 provinces.

"We've been a bit ahead of the power curve," Petraeus told the Monitor. Some within the US military worry, however, that as Baghdad asserts itself, it threatens to re-impose the top-down bureaucratic structure that stifled initiative under former president Saddam Hussein. Local officials in Mosul and other cities are also pressing for Baghdad to decentralize power and give them a greater say in national affairs.
In Iraq's northwest, an emerging model

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