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The War Nerd July 22, 2004
 
Fallujah 2: Bush Bushwhacks the Marines
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 3
 
Bush decided to cave under the pressure. On April 11, Marines were ordered to accept a "truce" in Fallujah. The next week, Bush's people were desperately looking around for somebody they could make a deal with. On April 19, Bush's people announced that we had an agreement in Fallujah. The US would call off the Marine snipers (who were doing a great job picking off insurgents -- like I said, city fighting is a sniper's dream), and in return the people of Fallujah would turn in all "heavy weapons": surface-to-air missiles, mortars and machineguns.

Makes you kind of wonder what the garages look like in that town. Kids must get ashamed when they bring their friends over and there's nothing but a couple of RPGs: "Gee, Rashid, MY daddy has a brand-new SA-7 and a BMP-76 in OUR garage!"

The "heavy weapons" deal didn't work all that well. Gen. Kimmitt -- you know, the skinny guy who gets paid to tell Saigon lies at Baghdad press conferences -- said: "There's been some intangible progress, even though we did not see a tremendous number of weapons turned in."

I like that bit about "intangible progress." How do you get "intangible progress" with machineguns? A machinegun is pretty tangible. Love may be just a state of mind, but a machinegun -- that's pretty tangible. Another great line of Kimmitt's: "...we did not see a tremendous number of weapons turned in." Turns out that was kind of an understatement: "On Wednesday, [April 21],police officers [in Fallujah] delivered a pickup truck filled with rusty and largely inoperative weapons, not the modern equipment military officers had wanted."

One lousy pickup bed of stuff! That's worse than those ghetto "handgun buyback" programs where they try to get paid for a piece of pipe taped to a saw handle.

I can just see the scene: a bunch of disgusted, angry USMC officers watching this pickup pull up and getting a peek at the big haul: two British shotguns and some granddad's rhino-horn dagger. "So you're telling us THIS is what's been killing our men for a week?" "Oh yes yes! This is all! Fallujah now peaceloving unarmed city! Yes yes!"

It was so ludicrous even Bush's people had to face the fact that the only way to pacify Fallujah was to let the Marines do their job and take the city by storm. Even Rumsfeld admitted that the old men we'd made this phony truce with had no power over the insurgents.

On the April 24-25 weekend, Bush and Rumsfeld flew to Camp David for a videoconference with the Brass in Iraq on what to do with Fallujah. The Marines were psyched, finally sure they'd get the chance to do what they were trained to do.

This is the key moment in the battle for Fallujah, and I suspect for the whole war. And in the end, it came down to one simple fact: Bush chickened out. He or his handlers decided they couldn't risk casualties on the scale this battle would take while they were going for reelection. Sometime that weekend, they decided the Marines weren't going to get the chance to win the battle. They were going to be called off in favor of some cheap PR face-saving strategy. Monday, April 26 -- and as far as I'm concerned, this goes down in history as Black Monday -- the announcement came from Bush that "the US has opted to delay the Fallujah offensive...in favor of joint patrols" of Marines and local Iraqi security forces.

"Joint patrols"! That was it! Bush went on TV to tell the suckers that, "the situation in Fallujah is returning to normal." Well, if "normal" is leaving the enemy in possession of the city, letting them ambush any Marine patrol they want, then Hell yeah, Fallujah was as normal as it gets. He also said the joint patrols would make the city "secure." But to be fair, he did admit there were, and I quote, "pockets of resistance" still operating in Fallujah. Yeah. Like there are pockets of gambling in Vegas.


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Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
 
 
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