“Go! Go!” shouted the American soldiers nervously as we drove past the column of Hummers near the mosque at the entrance to Faluja. The main road was a jumble of vehicles, jittery American soldiers and clusters of Iraqis waving Iraqi flags gathered on the traffic islands.
We drove to Faluja because a day earlier American soldiers had fired into a gathering of people who were demonstrating against the American presence at the school in the southern part of Faluja. The Americans claimed that they had been shot at. The people in Faluja said that no one had fired at the soldiers. The soldiers responded to the demonstrations with a burst of gunfire that killed 13 and wounded dozens more. We arrived ten minutes after an American column had gone by and the soldiers in the turrets of the Hummers had decided that the demonstration across from the municipal building next to which an American paratroop company was stationed constituted a threat. They fired into the crowd, killing three people.