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Local physician works for change in Iraq

McKenna said the first step in making strides toward improving the economy was to conduct an "economic atmospherics" assessment. Explaining that the most important thing is getting out into the community, McKenna said Americans are talking to "the average man on the street," and getting the whole story of what is going on in the community.

The project is certainly not an easy one.

Considering that the remote part of the country " about 230 miles from Baghdad " is just starting the transition to a full-fledged democracy with a free-market economy. In addition, Iraqi Security Forces have only recently quelled the insurgency that rocked the al-Anbar province for more than three years.

In October, McKenna met with the Rutbah City Council and Muthana Jubaer Juwana, the city council president, told him that most local Iraqi businessmen with the capital are investing in businesses in Jordan and Oman.

Juwana alluded to foreign investment in a large-scale business, such as a cement or glass factory, as the town's main hope to provide jobs, according to McKenna.

A local tribal leader at the city council meeting said a western company would have to build the factory in order to be successful, and that its operation would need to be supervised initially by forces.

McKenna disagrees.

"They have the skills and potential here," he said. "They built this city. They have educated people. We just need to focus on establishing a cadre of business leaders who have confidence in their city."

McKenna said he and his fellow Marines and sailors have their work cut out for them. However, he added, as forces take a step back and focus on providing mentorship and guidance to the Iraqi Security Forces, it is ultimately up to the people of Iraq to determine what direction their country will take in the future.

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