The Foreign Service Journal, September 2009

S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 9 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 37 than the actual construction. Over the longer term, another major problem was finding fully qualified civilians to do the neces- sary work. The recruitment pro- cess was controlled by well-mean- ing stateside staff with no under- standing of what we faced. I was frequently offered good people without any relevant expertise, such as Pentagon contract special- ists when what I needed was ex- perts on economic development — individuals with serious civilian business credentials, preferably with some first-hand idea of how to operate in a developing economy. Similarly, I was looking for medical professionals who knew how to set up health care in the developing world, not combat medics (who, in any case, were badly needed down the street to work with my military colleagues). Take Care of the Basics In a combat zone, it’s easy to forget that not every moment is about military action. If you hap- pen to be a native living in such an environment, then it’s home to you. Of course, your thinking is dominated by the possibility of death or serious injury. But you also care deeply about lots of other issues — health care and education for your children, for example — and you are furious that the au- thorities aren’t providing any services. So you probably won’t stop picking up a gun until someone alleviates those concerns. Even in Sadr City, a division of Baghdad and certainly a hot spot by most definitions, most of the time people went quietly about their business instead of shooting in the streets. Babies were born, mothers took children to F O C U S We should have all learned by now that waiting until the army has won the day to address the need for good governance does not work.