You know what one of the big surprises on the street is? Iraqi policemen and army personnel walk the streets without covering their faces.
It might sound silly but while insurgents and terrorist targeted anyone and anything related to the government Iraqi police and army were the easiest targets. Baghdad was a city where those who represented the authority of the government had to cover their faces!
And if the people with the guns and authority to protect you feel threatened how is everybody else supposed to feel?
About three years ago while making a film for Newsnight I was filming an Iraqi army manned checkpoint. They didn’t mind me filming but they all put on something to cover their faces, balaclavas or scarves with dark sunglasses, just anything that would conceal their identity. The soldiers I talked to told me how they would never leave their homes wearing uniforms. The uniform is taken out of the house in a plastic bag until they are out of their neighbourhoods.
Not today. There are more checkpoints than before. Every bridge has at least one at each end. There are checkpoints in and out of many districts and Iraqi police and army control all of them. And not a single balaclava in sight and none of the anxiety and nervousness you used to feel before.
A small change but significant change in my opinion. Our security forces were too occupied with protecting themselves before.. today they are able to protect us.