Passing people on the street, the convoys always draw stares. It's easy to guess why - the vehicles are imposing, and there are often turret gunners rolling their .50-caliber barrel back and forth, looking for possible vectors of incoming fire. Since July 1, too, the American military has made a concerted effort to stay out of urban areas whenever possible, so the mine-resistant vehicles are more of a novelty than they used to be.
There's no mistaking the looks, though, and they run the gamut from idle curiosity to annoyance to suspicion and outright glaring. It's not too often that someone is happy to see the convoys. It does happen, though - while I was in a convoy on the way to a detainee release in Baqubah this morning, a naked boy waved and smiled from a roadside merchant's stand. The merchant, presumably his relative, eyed us less charitably.
Some people might think the Iraqis are being ungrateful for American efforts to rebuild the country and foster stability. The truth is, though, that if armored vehicles from some foreign power were rolling down the streets of Fairbanks, I doubt I would be all smiles either.