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The War Nerd July 22, 2004
Fallujah 2: Bush Bushwhacks the Marines
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
Page 3 of 3
I wanted to spit on the TV screen.

So the battle of Fallujah was over, and we lost. The Marines were ordered to withdraw from the city. From now on they went in only as part of these ridiculous "joint patrols." Since then we've only attacked the city from the air, because that way we don't risk any casualties. Of course we also don't have a chance of dislodging the enemy, and we leave them in possession of the field, and we make our brave soldiers look ridiculous -- but I guess none of that is as important as PR for the election campaign.

Bush didn't even have the decency to mention the four dead contractors whose killers he and Rumsfeld promised we'd find and punish. Like all his big talk and promises to get tough, the dead were just plain forgotten. "Bring it on" -- yeah, sure. Until it might cost votes. Then he's all, "Call it off! Call it off!"

I thought that was the ultimate humiliation for American arms. But I was wrong. There was worse to come: these miserable ex-Saddam soldiers we stuffed into uniform and sent to patrol Fallujah under the command of an ex-Republican Guard general started to whine about having to patrol with the Marines. They said the Marines would draw fire, and that affected their safety. Poor babies.

This defeat -- this disgrace, more like it! -- has got our enemies all excited. "Fallujah" is a rallying cry now for Muslim crazies all over the world. It's like their Bastogne, their Alamo. It will go down in their histories as the turning point in the war, the moment when we faced off against them and we flinched first. And I'm not talking just about the war in Iraq, I mean the bigger, longer war we're supposed to be fighting.

The worst of it is, our troops fought brilliantly, damn it. No matter how ridiculous and contradictory their orders were, our Marines never flinched, never backed off, never showed fear.

It was our leader, our President, who chickened out, just like he did when it was his time to face combat in Nam 30 years ago. Once a chicken, always a chicken -- that's the lesson, I guess.

You know, in a lot of countries, politicians betraying an army fighting for its life in the field...a lot of times that sets off a military coup. Actually that might not be a bad idea.

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.
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