What you see as corruption we see as part of the normal process of doing business. Because most jobs underpay, we always take a cut. This is built into the price of the job. Iraq follows the trend of many other Arab countries -- there aren’t enough jobs for the expanding population so the government hires everyone. The government can’t afford high salaries for so many people, so the pay is low. Because the pay is low, it’s expected that you accept bribes and cheat to get by. Everyone knows the rules, even the government.
Typically, we’ll take a slice of 10% to 15% off the top of a contract or a work order. Nobody will really get too upset if we keep things in this “normal” range. If we go too far, and take 30% or higher, then we know we are stepping over the line. However, unless you catch on we’ll take what we can get. If you’re too stupid to figure out what we’re doing, it’s your fault, not ours. There is no real shame in corruption; after all, we’re looking out for our families as expected.
The American knows what he is up against. The question is whether or not it will change.