Fallujah Side-Step


Marine commanders seem to be trying to accomplish two things by stepping aside for a new Iraqi battalion which is to take up Marine postions along the southern edge of the city. One, the new Iraqi forces are in serious need of some kind of win. Giving them the task of essentially acting as police forces in areas the Marines have swept of insurgents is a mission with training wheels. Success here would provide something to build on, not to mention be great PR.

And two, Marines can put off swarming into the so-called Golan neighborhood in the north, which remains a resistance stronghold. It is that oldest part of the city with its narrow streets that would be bloody job for the Marines to clear hovel-to-hovel. Commanders no doubt would prefer to simply pulverize the area via air and arty, and that may yet happen. In any event, the Marines will stay in their northern positions to prevent the bad guys from melting away or get re-supplied.

But in the near-term the Iraqis will likely be given a chance to get a hold on the rest of the city.

NEXT: Pre-Columbian Islam?

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  1. As I posted in an older discussion, the USMC has a long history of counterinsurgency experience which resulted in this approach. In Vietnam, this lead to disagreement with the Army, which favored the “search and distroy” approach.

    I do believe that we need to go in and grab the bad guys. We can’t let terrorists off the hook, so I hope that zak is wrong that this is a victory for the insurgents.

    But I do agree with the general USMC soft approach to the general population.

  2. I am happy to see de-escalation by US forces. I hope this is a sign that we are pulling back (and out) in general. I am also happy to see that the Marines apparently (according to the wash post) made this decision on their own, without orders from Baghdad or the Pentagon. We need the field commanders making decisions on tactical matters, rather than the Bush team in DC. My concern is Bush ordering forces back in (“retreat is for pussies!”). This is surely a victory for the insurgents. The US is saying “this town is not worth the casualties” — and I agree. But what if Bush sends troops back in to face a rejuvenated enemy? Even if it is not specifically in Fallujah.

  3. zak is for pussies!

    Plan A: have the Iraqis take a shot at governing themselves.

    Plan B: Daisy Cutter, then have the Iraqis take a shot at rebuilding a real city themselves.

    Plan C: Daisy Cutter, then rebuild the goddamned city ourselves, let the Iraqis move in and bitch about where we placed the new buildings. Then restart at Plan A.

    Repeat until we have bankrupted ourselves and destroyed the dollar. US collapses, returns to gold standard, abolishes federal reserve, and elects Lew Rockwell president. Libertarian paradise is realized. Congressional Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to Murray Rothbard. While we’re at it, Reason mag becomes largest subscribed paper in the new US.

    Alarm rings. I wake up and drag myself sad ass to work to start up the computer, click on H&R, to see what the latest fuck up is in Iraq and comment posted by sneering, self-loathing, no alternative-option holding, trite cliche spewing, pessimist.

  4. Congressional Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to Murray Rothbard.

    Why doesn’t your dream include having Rothbard succeed in getting Adlai Stevenson elected as POTUS?

  5. Congressional Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to Murray Rothbard.

    Why doesn’t your dream include having Rothbard succeed in getting Adlai Stevenson elected as POTUS?

  6. May I strongly recommend the Belmont Club (belmontclub.blogspot.com) as a reference for what is going on in Fallujah. It seems like Jeff may be getting information from there as his description of the current military situation is almost identical to theirs.

    I don’t see how anyone could say that the battle there is a victory for the insurgents. We have captured at least 75% of the town and the insurgents are surrounded and trapped in a small area and aren’t able to rearm or reinforce themselves, all with very minimal losses to our side. In other words, the USMC is doing a great job there and we should only expect for them to continue. We may be able to criticize the administration for how they are handling the reconstruction, but it strikes me as rather stupid to insult the way they have handled the military parts of the war.

  7. David –

    If I am not mistaken we gave the insurgents several ultimatums — give up your weapons or we will come get you. Then we pulled back. I am supportive of the pullback policy, but there seems little question that the insurgents can spin this as a victory. We did not go get them. We left, they stayed.

    Don – I agree that the USMC seems better trained for this work that the Army.

  8. Happy May Day, everyone!

    “Commanders no doubt would prefer to simply pulverize the area via air and arty, and that may yet happen.” The implied “if they are ordered to take the town” should have been written explicitly. I’m fairly certain that knowingly slaughtering thousands of innocents is not what US military commanders in this day and age would no doubt prefer, if they are at all able to avoid it.

  9. We’re back to the carrot and the stick.

    We must offer the carrot to all Iraqi’s, including those in Fallujah. We must give them ample opportunity to live in peace with us. We must be generous victors. We must forgive and forget, easily and without malice.

    On the other hand, we must make certain to apply the stick without remorse to those who fail to accept our friendship.

    We are slowly and carefully reducing the geographical size occupied by the opposing force in Fallujah. When it is small enough, and when everyone inside has refused to surrender, we must raze it to the ground, with all of it’s inhabitants. To prevent further uprisings, the lesson must be clear — the use of force against Americans is not a useful tactic.

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