The chaotic scene in Safwan -- where in 1991, Iraq and a U.S.-led coalition entered an agreement for a permanent cease fire in the Persian Gulf War -- was accentuated by the widely varying views people had of the current conflict and its impact on Iraq's future.
Some welcomed the prospective ouster of Hussein even as they criticized America for failing to get the job done in the earlier war.
"We're very happy," said Saffra Haider, 32, a mother of three. "But they're 12 years late. Why did they leave us for all this time?"
Others cited the economic toll exacted by the regime amid hopes for a turnaround.
"We should be a rich country," said Muhsen Salem, 24, a farmer. "We have oil, farming; we grow tomatoes and export food. But we've become poor, and the government comes and takes our crops from us, claiming there's uranium in them."
As the men talked Saturday, a relentless stream of tanks and supply trucks rumbled down the main street. Ahmed, the imam of the mosque, flushed with anger as he reflected on the corpse inside.
"Is this peacekeeping?" he asked. "We welcome the attack and this is what they do. If we had power now, we would hit the Americans."
Among those cheering the American troops, skepticism persisted that Hussein would be cornered.
"We're very happy" about the bombing of Hussein's palace in Baghdad, said one villager. "But we're very sure he's not in that palace."