Economics of Iraq....

We had problems getting Iraqis to show up on time for work. We would provide Iraqi leaders with upfront payments for projects, but the work would not get done. We had Iraqis complaining about myriad problems, but few seemed interested in fixing them.

Take timeliness, a sticking point for Americans. Most Iraqis have a sense of religious fatalism best summed up by the word inshallah, which means "God willing." For example, when we asked about details involving a job, we typically heard, "Yes, I will have 40 men there tomorrow at 0800 to begin the work, inshallah."

Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that God wasn't always willing. This was difficult for Marines to understand. Our military culture is one of mission accomplishment.

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