As Iraqis and American officials assess the effects of this year’s American troop increase, there is a growing sense that, even as security has improved, Iraq has slipped to new depths of lawlessness.
You have to pay a bribe to join the police. This is not just some ill-qualified people trying to improve their chances. Everyone has to pay.
Doesn't that indicate that things may be progressing from all out civil war to a more stable corruption?
I would say "shifting" not "progressing", and I would call it "chronic" and "endemic", not "stable", but yes.
Isn't that progress, considering just how often police were dying?
That they have joined the police instead of a gang is a sign that all hope is not yet lost.
In the short term, the decision looks more like desperation than progress. The police work is still deadly, and they know it. But these guys have kids to feed, and the police job pays better than most. The situation has "progressed" to the point where fathers must break the law in order to obtain one of the riskiest jobs available -- enforcing the law -- just to keep their kids from starving.
But the people paying to become cops so they can get bribes were struggling and scamming their way to feed their families ever since we invaded, right? And yet something has changed such that there is now a positive expectation on a $500 investment in a badge. Given the gangland nature of Iraq, I would think that the formation of a central, 'state gang' would be a step on the road to stability, peace and prosperity.