Saturday, July 07, 2007

Straighten up, guys!

One of the funnier moments I had this week was listening to my battle buddy the other day. He's not really sold on some of the components of the bigger picture of what's going on here in Iraq. Sometimes, I'm not either, truth be told.

His typical line in doing impressions of leadership is "Hey, guys, you just don't get it. Everything will be fine, just be patient. There's no problem here that can't be solved with a little bit more time, a little bit more money, and a little bit more troops."

I laughed out loud with his delivery the other day, role playing a U.S. leader talking to an Iraqi leader: "If you don't straighten this thing out and get it right, we're going to bring more troops to support you and spend even MORE money!"

He'd perfectly captured some of the perverse performance incentives at play here. If the folks here start showing signs of things working, we're going to start pulling out. And our "we don't quit if you fail to come through, we throw more resources at the problem" attitude means that we tolerate lack of progress much more than I ever would in personal or business relationships.

Our being tied in to the economy of the country is out front and center in the contracting picture:

Private contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq
New U.S. data show how heavily the Bush administration has relied on corporations to carry out the occupation of the war-torn nation.
By T. Christian Miller, Times Staff WriterJuly 4, 2007

As you may be able to tell at this point, the NNPA boys are a bit sour about the larger picture right now.

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