A few months back I wrote a short piece about non-stereotypical Iraqi Arabs Abdul and Mohammed, who were trying to work out how not to get murdered.

Their problem was that because they’d helped out British soldiers in trying to make their country a bit less murdery, they were sort of in for it when it transpired that the Allied demurderfication process was proceeding slower than expected. Iraq’s a bit like that. I mean, you might think that your neighbour gets a bit huffy when the leylandii sneaks above twenty feet, but that’s honestly nothing compared to how cross the militia get if they think you’ve done a bit of translating for a platoon commander from Lincolnshire when he steps up to the front door of somebody who he believes is involved in potential carnage.

Blogger Dan Hardie has spoken to a couple of these people on the telephone. Not Abdul or Mohammed (they don’t really exist, and besides, Abdul is on O2 and the reception is terrible in Basra). No – real, live, genuine people in Iraq!!! They DO exist, and they can use telephones and drive cars and stuff!!! This was a bit of a revelation to me and would be all wondrous if it wasn’t so depressing.

I’ll let Dan take it from here.