Big Trouble in Little Fallujah
The coming showdown in Fallujah will be a very telling moment on many counts. Bombings by US forces have been increasing steadily, and forces are massing for the siege. My prediction is that no matter what American force do in Fallujah, the Islamic theocrats will be victorious.
If Bush and Allawi have indeed understood the seriousness of this conflict, they will attack Fallujah with extreme force and prejudice, with the goal of taking over the city completely. This would be a stunning victory for the US and a poignant demonstration that we are not the paper tiger we have appeared to be. It would also be a hopeful sign that perhaps President Bush has learned that half-assing it will ultimately lead to our downfall. Unfortunately, the cost of such an incursion will be many civilian casualties. I think this will have a very nasty effect upon most Iraqi's, and will only push them further into the hands of the clerics. This compounded with the fact that Bush supports mob rule in Iraq, will most likely lead to an Islamic theocracy in Iraq, which will mean that we might as well have stayed home and not sacrificed several thousand US soldiers.
But if we fail to take Fallujah now, this will also be a glaring defeat for both our own morale and any vestiges of strength we might have left. That we failed to decimate the insurgents in April 2003 did more to undermine our efforts to secure Iraq than any civilian casualties would have. If we fail now, I don't really see how we will ever retake Fallujah, for such a defeat will only embolden the insurgents and demoralize any opposition that might
be left in the city. It would also have the same effect throughout Iraq. Every step we take away from a proper foreign policy only makes it that much harder to change direction.
Either way I think we are in big trouble in Iraq; Fallujah just happens to be the concrete which best captures our dilemma. If we fight hard, we risk Iraqi's choosing our greatest enemies; if we don't fight, we guarantee that they will. And the worst part is that Bush will probably try to pick the middle of the road here too, which means that more American's will be sacrificed so that Iraqi's could vote themselves out of a secular dictatorship into an Islamic one.
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 3:36 PM