USA y el control en Irak: Mission Impossible?

02.Jul.03    Análisis y Noticias

Mistrust Mixes With Misery In Heat of Baghdad
Police Post
Frustrated Reservists See a Mission Impossible
By Anthony Shadid

Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, July 1, 2003; Page A01

BAGHDAD, June 30 — To Staff Sgt. Charles
Pollard, the working-class
suburb of Mashtal is a “very, very, very, very
bad neighborhood.” And he
sees just one solution.

“U.S. officials need to get our [expletive] out
of here,” said the
43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh, who
arrived in Iraq with the
307th Military Police Company on May 24. “I say
that seriously. We have
no business being here. We will not change the
culture they have in
Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we
are here is potential
people to be killed and sitting ducks.”

To Sgt. Sami Jalil, a 14-year veteran of the
local police force, the
Americans are to blame. He and his colleagues
have no badges, no
uniforms. The soldiers don’t trust them with
weapons. In his eyes, his
U.S. counterparts have already lost the people’s

“We’re facing the danger. We’re in the front
lines. We’re taking all the
risks, only us,” said the 33-year-old officer.
“They’re arrogant. They
treat all the people as if they’re criminals.”

These are the dog days of summer in Mashtal, and
tempers are flaring
along a divide as wide as the temperatures are

Throughout the neighborhood, as in much of
Baghdad, residents are almost
frantic in their complaints about basic needs
that have gone unmet –
enough electricity to keep food from spoiling,
enough water to drink,
enough security on the streets. At Mashtal’s
Rashad police station,
where Pollard’s unit is working to protect the
police and get the Baath
Party-era force back on its feet, the
frustrations are personal and

Many of the Iraqi officers despise the U.S.
soldiers for what they see
as unreasonable demands and a lack of respect.
Many of the soldiers in
Pollard’s unit — homesick, frustrated and
miserable in heat that soars
well into the 100s — deem their mission to
reconstitute the force

The Rashad station, where a new coat of paint has
done little to conceal
unmet expectations, is an example of the darker
side of the mundane
details of the U.S. occupation. While perhaps not
representative, it
offers a grim, small window on the daunting task
of rebuilding a capital
and how the course of that reconstruction, so
far, has defied the
expectations of virtually everyone involved.

“I pray every day on the roof. I pray that we
make it safe, that we make
it safe home,” Pollard said. “The president needs
to know it’s in his
hands, and we all need to recognize this isn’t
our home, America is, and
we just pray that he does something about it.”