San Diego Soliloquies

Sunday, May 02, 2004

By the Way ...

We lost the battle of Fallujah.

Marines are not stupid. I firmly believe they did not see any good way for Fallujah to end. The Bush administration dithered, allowing the Iraqis to dig in. The Marines knew they faced dedicated fighters supported by professionals from Saddam's army. They knew the dedication of these fighters only increased with every house blown up, every civilian wounded or killed, every minaret collapsed. Marines are our bravest, most effective troops. They also know they cannot throw away their lives for no reason.

How would they have gone about pacifying Fallujah? They probably would have had to go house to house, blowing through walls to avoid the streets and the inevitable booby-traps and ambushes. They would have had to kill innocent civilians, on the off-chance and snap decision that they posed a risk. They would have had to blow up religious buildings because these would inevitably hold stores of food, ammunitions and supplies. They would also hold wounded civilians and fighters, and they would have to die.

And at the end of all that, what would have been accomplished? Maybe we would have some men in custody who resembled those who brutalized the four mercenaries and hung them from a bridge. Or maybe we wouldn't. What we would have is a worldwide example of how committed you have to be to go up against United States Marines, and millions of young Muslim men ready to prove their commitment.

So we didn't fight the battle of Fallujah. The Marines are pulling back and Iraqi forces commanded by an Iraqi general are in charge. We intentionally lost this battle in order to avoid losing the war. Hope it works.


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