On a recent trip outside the wire to Bagdad, I got see the old city. I was impressed with the size of the capital of Iraq. From the air on a Black Hawk helicopter the city seemed to stretch out forever. It was a very contrasting city. I was struck by the poverty in one particular section. There were garbage dumps that appeared to have people walking around in them. When I got a closer look I realized that there were homes inside the dump made from the trash. Kids played in heaps of trash. I could not help but feel sorry for their situation.
In another section I was able to see very nice homes with nice green yards. It was interesting to see the two extremes that co-existed in this city.
One of the things that our unit is working on is helping the Iraqi people develop some sort of sanitation plan. Imagine if you will a city the size of Nashville that has no sewage or sanitation system. Sometimes we take for granted some of the basic services that our local government provides. We often do not realize just how vital basic services such as water, sewage and garbage collection are to a functioning city or town.
As a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer I handle a wide variety of issues. I help our commander deal with many legal issues such as Rule of Law, Rules of Engagement and UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) Issues. One of the big issues we deal with in a counter insurgency environment is Rule of Law.
For the new Iraq government to be effective it must be seen as legitimate by the people. Rule of Law deals with having the ability to enforce existing law and creating a court system that can address any wrongs that occur to its citizens.