Starting from Scratch in Iraq

(New York Times) Thomas L. Friedman - Col. Ralph Baker, who oversees two Baghdad districts, and his officers have been conducting informal elections for local councils and getting neighborhoods to nominate their own trusted police. "First we taught them how to run a meeting," he told me. "We had to teach them how to have an agenda. So instead of having this sort of group dialogue with no form, which they were used to, you now see them in council meetings raising their hands to speak. They get five minutes per member. It's basic P.T.A. stuff. We've taught them how to motion ideas and vote on them....There is a big education process going on here that is democratically founded. The faster we get Iraqis taking responsibility, the faster we get out of here."

2003-08-29 00:00:00

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