Reporters on the Job

Bad Vibes: Staff writer Dan Murphy has visited Fallujah but not recently. A friend making a documentary there warned him that the mood was getting ugly well before the latest attacks this week (page 1). His friend had been spending a lot of time there earlier this year, working on a film about the insurgency. But as time went by, this British friend began to feel less and less safe. About six weeks ago, the friend left Baghdad, telling Dan he couldn't imagine going back to Fallujah.

When Dan related this to the Monitor's Iraqi driver, Adnan told him about his last trip there a few weeks ago with Monitor correspondent Nick Blanford, an Englishman. At one point, the car stopped at a traffic light in town, a young boy selling gum approached the window. Spotting Nick, the boy began to shout to everyone on the street "an American's inside, an American's inside." When Adnan got back to Baghdad, he had all the windows tinted a dark blue.

Leads Drying Up: It's not just Iraqis in the Sunni Triangle who are turning against the US-led coalition. Dan met with a leader of one of Iraq's largest Shiite political parties while reporting Friday's story on Iraq's transition (page 4). The Shiite leader began to complain bitterly that his people are ignored by the US. In particular, he claimed that his group's informal intelligence network had been providing information to the coalition on movements of foreign Arabs, who they thought might be involved in terrorism. But he said action was never taken.

"They think we're just making stuff up to go after our enemies,'' the Shiite complained. "So now we don't tell them anything," he told Dan.

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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