You are on the edge of an abyss any time you dare wander the streets, as trigger-happy Iraqi guards and U.S. troops rarely miss their targets. Security forces patrolling the streets and bodyguards traveling in convoys to protect senior officials have their fingers on the trigger wherever they go. As they move, they shout at drivers to park their vehicles on the side of the road immediately – or else they will pull the trigger and shoot to kill.

Iraqi officials choose their guards carefully and try to ensure that most of them are close relatives or are at least from the same tribe. Passing at dizzying speed, they have no intention to even check whether the occupants of the vehicle they are firing at for disobeying their usually unclear orders are injured or killed.

Nobody knows exactly how may innocent Iraqis have been murdered or wounded in this manner. One thing Iraqis are sure of is that despite the killing, no official or bodyguard has ever been brought to justice. And Iraqi soldiers and guards are not the only ones ready to shoot and kill at random. Most likely, they have learned this lesson from their trainers, the U.S. occupation troops.

The problem with the U.S. troops in the country is that they don’t speak our language; therefore they rely on body language and writing to exchange messages. Their tanks and armored personnel carriers - the only means of transport for U.S. troops in the congested streets of Baghdad and other cities - bear signs in Arabic and English, warning drivers that they risk certain death if they approach.

But as nearly 70% of Iraqis are illiterate, you can imagine how many drivers mistakenly approach “certain death,” as the laser-guided guns of U.S. troops never miss their targets.

The problem is exacerbated at night, when U.S. troops expect illiterate Iraqis to be able to read their signs. The only winner, of course, are their lethal laser-guided weapons with the ability to “read,” even at night.

Again how many innocent Iraqis have died because they unknowingly approached U.S. vehicles? Nobody knows, but the figure must be high and on the rise.

The problem, here, as with Iraqi guards and forces, is that U.S. troops do not stop to take care of the victims. Iraqi drivers and passengers, who happen to be nearby, dismount to help them. And once they gather around the victims, they curse the U.S. and the Iraqi government which has dismally failed to protect them.