The coalition didn’t trust the people they’d set free.

The Americans, especially, retreated behind rolls and rolls of razor wire, pointed their revolvers and their rifles at passionate but peaceful crowds, and barked orders in English at people for whom courtesy is one of the essential qualities of life.

They considered every Iraqi as a potential enemy Dr Hussein al-Shahristani In Hilla, a quiet town full of devout Shia Muslims delighted that Saddam had gone, two local petrol station attendants, Faris and Riath Hussein, joined crowds lining the main road to cheer the coalition troops as they passed through on their way to Baghdad.

Two days later, Faris was driving Riath along the same road – as they approached a checkpoint, they thought they were being told to carry on.

They carried on. US marines opened fire.

Faris was killed, and a bullet hit Riath through the front of his head, blinding him in both eyes.


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