MARTIN SMITH: This is the so- called Sunni Triangle. Sunni Arabs have long dominated Iraqi politics, but now they have been stripped of their power. And being only one-fifth of the overall population of Iraq, they worry about how they will fare in a democracy-- nowhere more than in Tikrit, birthplace of Saddam.
This is not a place that welcomes outsiders. Even filming is difficult. We've been warned to watch our backs. At a downtown restaurant where I had lunch, Saddam's picture hung on the wall. And that very day, two coalition contractors were murdered a few blocks away. Nearby is Saddam's water palace. We've come to ask the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, now headquartered here, about the prospect of winning the loyalty of the people in the Sunni Triangle.
MAJ. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO: Some of the problem is they expect the United States to come in; they would throw billions of dollars, and in six months, this country would be like Germany is today. It's an unrealistic expectation.
MARTIN SMITH: We had come here at a critical time. It has not been widely reported, but in October, reconstruction money, so important to winning hearts and minds, dried up.
MAJ. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO: We were just beginning to see people reacting to the successes we were having with the water treatment projects, with the school projects, with the sewage projects, with the police buildings and the courthouses being developed. We were really starting to see some positive response to all that.
MARTIN SMITH: You had momentum.
MAJ. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO: We had momentum. And so we've somewhat lost that a little bit. We can regain it, but it's frustrating.
MARTIN SMITH: Why did nobody see that coming?
MAJ. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO: We didn't see it coming. I can't tell you why it happened. I don't know. So we just got to... it's done. It's water under the bridge. We've got to move forward. I think that's my comment on that.
MARTIN SMITH: It appeared to have serious consequences. As reconstruction slowed, anti- coalition violence increased. November, the month we were in Iraq, turned out to be the most deadly since the war was declared over in May. This is Baqubah, 75 miles south of Tikrit, another hard-hit town. I went to talk to the local U.S. commander.
MARTIN SMITH: Hi, there.
MARTIN SMITH: Hi. Martin Smith. How are you?
LT. SUSAN GREIG: Hi. Lieutenant Greig.
MARTIN SMITH: Lieutenant Susan Greig says she ran out of money while trying to set up a police force.
LT. SUSAN GREIG: What happened was, initially when we arrived here, we used coalition money. And then, you know, at some point, you know, that ran out. And honestly, for a few months, I mean, we were really at a standstill. I couldn't get weapons. I couldn't get uniforms, patrol cars. I have a couple police stations that only have one patrol car.
MARTIN SMITH: To make matters worse, Baqubah is among the most dangerous police posts in all of Iraq. Two days before we got here, suicide bombers struck two local police stations; 11 policemen and five civilians were killed. Many more were injured. We talked to one of the victims at his home.
VICTIM (Translated): We were standing by the door of the police station. Then, in a split second, the car exploded.
MARTIN SMITH: And how badly injured were you?
SPOKESMAN (Translated): A deep injury to the bone, a screw this big. On top of it all, no one took him to the hospital and he hasn't been paid.
MARTIN SMITH: How long?
SPOKESPERSON (Translated): Two months without pay.
VICTIM (Translated): Not a single dinar. They say it hasn't been approved.
MARTIN SMITH: Will you return to being a policeman after you are healed?
VICTIM (Translated): Yes. I will.
MARTIN SMITH: He may return, but many others haven't. Immediately after the bombing, around 40 police officers in Baqubah Province resigned. Greig told us in early December that she'd been assured that money was on its way. But, she says, she lost valuable time.
LT. SUSAN GREIG: We cannot really work on public works if we don't have the security to protect the workers that are there. We can ask all the contractors in the world to come out and build a sewage line and everything else. But you know what? Someone can come right behind him, throw a couple RPG's at it and what do you have? We need the security first, in order to allow these civilian contractors to get out to do their job.
MARTIN SMITH: It's a stubborn problem: The more active the resistance, the slower the reconstruction.