Indicator of Failure in Iraq
By Arnold Kling
The corruption is so bad that American officials find their Iraqi counterparts more concerned with stealing than governing. The theft is so pervasive that an honest official (who doesn’t steal) is at a political disadvantage. During Saddam’s years, much of the private economy was taken over by the government, and then dispensed in return for loyalty (or at least the appearance of such, Saddam always suffered at least one assassination attempt a year.) Thus Saddam made an old Middle Eastern custom even worse. With the country currently so dependent on oil revenue and foreign aid, it is the government officials who get control of that money, who wield the most power.
Over six months ago, I wrote
If I were to pick one indicator to track in order to predict success or failure in Iraq, it would be the following:
The percentage of Iraqi government officials who abide by the law in their work
Apparently, that indicator is pointing in the wrong direction.