June 17, 2006
Courant Staff Writer  

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Nobody comes up this
driveway. It's clearly marked, in Arabic and
English. But there he is, a man walking steadily
toward the defensive post on Charlie Company's

There's an acronym for what comes next: EOF.
Escalation of force.

The Marine at the post yells for the man to stop,
in Arabic. The man seems to hear, and he stops for
a moment. But then he starts walking again, coming
closer than the Marine can allow, in a place just a
few dozen yards from where a vest bomber killed
eight police recruits not much more than a month

So the Marine has to move to the next step, a step
drilled into his head with numbing regularity. He
raises his weapon and threatens.

The man keeps coming toward the barrel of the
rifle, only 15 yards away. So the Marine is pushed
toward the next step.

The warning fire hits the pavement in front of the
man. A round skips up and creases his leg. He's
wounded, no longer a threat, so the last step won't
be necessary.

The man turns out to be an Iraqi police officer, out
of uniform. He's taken to the surgical hospital at
Camp Fallujah, where he's treated and sent home.

He's fine. But he should have known better.

Capt. Mark Jamouneau, a Marine who runs a team
that works with the Iraqi police, said the response
from a police commander was an unsympathetic:
"Good; shoot him."

The Marines have been at their base in the center
of Fallujah for a while now, and the police, whose
headquarters is next- door, should know what areas
are off limits - unless they are testing the Marines,
which is certainly on the minds of Charlie
Company leaders who already suspect there are
Iraqi police working with the insurgents.

In Fallujah, suspicion can be healthy. Especially
when, the very next day, another Iraqi police
officer comes walking up the same driveway.