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Since May, when the heavy fighting in Iraq died down, Army Lt. Col. Derek Gilman has been helping to write the script for rebuilding the ravaged nation of 25 million souls, drafting legal orders for the coalition occupation, to secure order and the rule of law. As of Oct. 5, ten days after his wedding, he was headed for Baghdad for two months of on-the-ground involvement, implementing commercial law and revenue collection systems. The goal is to bring a democratic market economy to this shell-shocked population after 35 years of decline under totalitarian rule — and to do it fast. “I don’t think anything like this has ever been attempted before,” he said. Gilman is an international tax lawyer in the Stamford offices at Day, Berry & Howard. He’s also a West Point graduate who studied international law at Cambridge, law at the University of Connecticut and earned an advanced tax law degree at New York University. The challenge of rapid rebuilding of Iraq’s core institutions is drawing upon everything he’s ever learned, Gilman said. Throughout the past spring and summer, Gilman has been drafting the law issued by Administrator L. Paul Bremer, of the Coalition Provisional Authority. So far, he’s helped write the rules setting up the Central Court of Iraq, its Central Bank, the trade bank, a code of discipline for the new Iraqi army, and orders creating a new Iraqi Civil Defense corps. Concepts like equality are revolutionary. One September order begins, “Understanding that the salaries of public workers under the former regime were paid through a complicated system largely composed of incentive pay that rewarded loyalty to the regime over meritorious service … .” It includes language that hiring “will be based on an individual’s qualifications without regard to race, religion, tribal membership, gender, or regional origin.” (The orders are published in Arabic and English, viewable at www.cpa-iraq.org.) LEGAL TEAM Gilman has been working with Iraqi lawyers, some of whom lived in exile and helped publish a bar journal, keeping alive concepts of Iraqi law separate from Saddam Hussein’s iron rule. “What we’re really aiming for is to ultimately install a democratic regime in Iraq that’s run by the Iraqis,” he said in a recent interview, a task that requires assistance from the “many capable people in Iraq that are very able to do this.” Gilman says he isn’t overly worried about his personal safety, and says reports of ongoing violence are exaggerated. “I was over there for two weeks and people would come out of the fields and wave at us as we flew over in helicopters. I spoke with many of the lawyers as well as members of the governing council,” and he’s optimistic as a result. “They’re a very proud people, and they’re very quick to remind you that it was their ancestors who wrote the Code of Hammurabi, which is the first code of law in the history of mankind.” Iraqi lawyers have had a bar in exile publishing its own bar journal, Gilman said, “and a lot of these people are coming home.” Also, he noted, “there are a lot of lawyers who were in-country, practicing in areas of the law not affected by the totalitarian regime, so they’re quite capable, as well.” MASS GRAVES The inspiring challenge of nationbuilding is tempered by some of the atrocities Gilman views. During a visit this summer to northern homelands of the Kurds, Gilman saw evidence of a wholesale slaughter of Kurdish women and children, who were bused to a remote area, forced to kneel and summarily shot in the back of the head. “The forensics are not complete,” he said, but the current estimates are that between 400 and 3,000 women and children were victims at that site, in a genocidal attack in 1988. Gilman has been meeting with civilian experts with BearingPoint, the former KPMG consulting group which has contracts to oversee some of the rebuilding of key economic institutions and infrastructure. In BearingPoint’s assessment, Iraq has been functioning at a subsistence level since 1991, crippled by the costs of the Iran-Iraq war and a host of lesser-reported afflictions, such as a wheat smut which routinely destroys 20 per cent of the crop. One of Gilman’s key tasks over the next two months is to establish a fair and evenhanded taxing system, to replace the former practice in which individuals and businesses set taxes by negotiation. It led to wide disparities in taxation levels. Currently, taxation is suspended, but Gilman is envisioning a not-too-distant time when industry and markets are revived, and the nation’s potential appeal as a tourist attraction becomes a reality. Iraq’s history as a cradle of civilization is a great potential draw, but even those features haven’t escaped the damage of Saddam’s egotistical whims. In historic Babylon, for example, Saddam had the historic structures rebuilt with new bricks that each bear his name, right on top of the archaeological site. “It’s almost a sacrilege,” said Gilman. OCCUPATION LAW Although the slate which Gilman is writing has been wiped clean in one sense, the path to good policy is marked. Geneva and Hague Conventions require that new laws be no harsher than the nation’s old laws. Military officials from Britain and Australia with extensive experience in the law of occupation will be working on his team, says Gilman. He sounds confident that in charting a path toward democracy, the emerging story will be more reminiscent of Alexis deToqueville than George Orwell. The U.S. occupations of Japan and Germany stretched over a decade — a far more generous time frame than Americans are likely to tolerate in Iraq. And although those two former enemy nations became thriving allies, replicating their rebuilding in a matter of months is a feat never before attempted, Gilman notes. In the last days before his flight to Baghdad, Gilman was busily briefing members of Congress on department of defense initiatives and meeting with White House staffers. Current media reports reflect new impatience with the time and money investment in rebuilding Iraq. A recent Time magazine cover blares “Mission Not Accomplished.” Yet Gilman, like some legal Red Adair, is unruffled as he heads into this world-class public policy firestorm. “I expect to be home by Christmas,” he said.

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