Iraq: May 16, 2003


American troops have increased their patrols throughout Iraq, but particularly in Baghdad. Arrests are made and courts and jails set up to deal with those caught committing crimes. Most of the shooting and looting, particularly in Baghdad, is the result of criminal gangs. There was always a lot of crime in Iraq, some of it by gangs that worked part time for the government. Last year, Saddam made "gesture" by "opening the prisons." But most of the people let out were not political prisoners, but common criminals, who went back to doing what they knew. The crime has been worse in Baghdad, because  that's where most of Saddam's cronies lived. These guys, and their families, have fled, leaving villas and mansions full of great loot. This was quickly noted and taken advantage of. The criminal gangs quickly got their guns out and chased away mere civilians looking to grab some goodies from a mansion. This has been the source of a lot of the night time shooting heard in the capital. 

The US is trying to get radio and TV service restored throughout the nation as quickly as possible so they can quickly get information to the population. Another reason is to get the word out on the improvements in standard of living taking place throughout Iraq. Although dissolving the Baath party run government bureaucracy has caused a lot of confusion for the last month, this is being overcome day by day and public services are restored, and often improving beyond what they were before the war. Since the occupation government is not corrupt, and not concerned with running a police state, progress in rebuilding the infrastructure is moving ahead much faster. 




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