The problem with the unpopularity of the US presence -and its a big problem - is any covert offers of US-based assistance may result in harassment or even death to the businessman and his/her family members. The US has devised a plan to help the Iraqi businessmen, and to keep them from running afoul of myriad insurgents, jihaddis and assorted mini-Saddams. From the Wall Street Journal:
"The only way things will work is if the U.S. contribution is totally invisible," says Maj. Christina Nagy, a civil-affairs officer from the 82nd Airborne Division. "I have people with higher ranks than me always wanting to have a ribbon cutting. I just listen and think, 'Sure, if you want the companies to get immediately shot or blown up.' "
So how can the US possibly stay invisible in a country where we have over 140,000 armed and very visible troops spread through large swaths of the country? The answer is you stage fake raids against the Iraqi businessmen the US is helping. It is described as hiding in plain sight. A side benefit is US troops can determine if the businessmen are spending the money properly during the raids.
While this move may be born of necessity, and helps minimize mayhem and destruction, it is also telling about just how unpopular this war is to many Iraqis. Are there any other examples where the US military must operate in such a furtive manner in order to accomplish the most basic of objectives? Surely the insurgents are going to catch on this little sleight of hand.
Iraq is truly a FUBAR wrapped in an enigma.