To Protect & Serve

We made an office call to the IP chief in Hadithah, and were fortunate to also meet the IP chief from Baghdadi, who was visiting his colleague.  This is the third IP office I have visited recently.  In all cases, the facilities were clean and well ordered and the individual IP officers in uniform, neat and professional looking. 

Although they both chiefs maintained that they would need the Marines to help secure Anbar for a long time, it is clear that the IP in Western Anbar have become much more confident and competent.   They are developing leads, doing investigations and catching bad guys mostly on their own with significant success.   The chief told us that we should feel completely safe in Hadithah and that secure conditions stretched generally from Al Qaim in the far west to Hit in the eastern part of the province.   They were less sanguine about Hit, Ramadi and Fallujah.  .  

They voiced the perennial complaint of many local officials anywhere in the world: they felt neglected by out-of-touch higher-up leaders and thought they could do a much better job if provided sufficient resources and allowed to do their jobs as they saw fit.  They had some specific complaints, ones that we hear all over.  The most persistent was that higher authorities did not provide them with enough fuel.  According to what they told us, they get enough fuel each month for only a couple days of serious patrolling.   They are also having trouble finding parts for their Chevy or Ford pickup trucks.  What passes for roads in Anbar is tough on vehicles.  Truth be told, however, we have noticed that the young police officers driving these trucks are sometimes very enthusiastic about driving and fearless of bumps, ruts and rocks.  

No matter the challenges, however, security has clearly improved to the point that most people no longer have to think about security all the time.   In Maslow’s Hierarchy, people need to feel secure before they can progress to other pursuits, such as building their lives and their businesses.  They do and they are.