Saturday, December 15, 2007

First Sergeant Brobyn. "We are here to make ourselves superfluous."

An Iraq Town Shrugs Off Terror by Ulrike Putz in Der Spiegel.

Photo Gallery here.

So what changed? Why, suddenly, do 79 men apply to join the police in a single day? Rawah has, relatively speaking, become a peaceful place once again. The last attack -- an insurgent threw a hand grenade over the wall of a barracks where some 60 Marines were stationed -- took place over a month ago. And life on the streets seems to be returning to normal. During the day there are boys running around on the streets; in the café of the little market hall, young men play pool. Mothers take their daughters shopping. Even at night there are people outside on the streets. One night recently, a group stood outside of a well-lit hair salon warming their hands over a little fire. And just talked.

"At some point, people simply had enough," Subhi says. The men in the town wanted a future for their families and decided the path to that future involved working with, rather than against, the Americans. Whereas before, people had been paralyzed with fear, they began informing US troops about insurgents' activities. Others would speak up if they saw suspicious-looking characters on the streets of Rawah.

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