TIKRIT, Iraq – Seeing the enemy in Iraq is not easy, whether you are jumping out of a Blackhawk in a desert air assault or walking in a market on a sunny day in Tikrit.
"When I first got here I was trying to figure out where the enemy was at, or who was the enemy or what was the enemy. It took us about a month to figure out there's more to it than just looking for insurgents," said Col. Rick Rhyne of the 101st Airborne.
That challenge is heightened in Saddam Hussein's hometown, where the tyrant's body is buried near the farmhouse where he was caught by U.S. forces in 2003.
Tikrit presents a dual mission for the U.S. forces, who carry a rifle but using a pen, listening to complaints about an electricity shortage, a water shortage, trying to make friends while wearing an armored vest.
It is hard to know who your friends are, or if the men you arm and hire for $300 dollars a month are working for you, or the other side — or themselves.
"I've been wounded. My sergeant major's been wounded. So when you look at it you have to believe in what you're doing," said Rhyne. "I believe we're making a huge difference. I see it in the people."
That difference can be measured in the number of attacks in Tikrit: four a day in August 2007, just one a day in August 2008.