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Someone Tell the Marines Fallujah is Pacified
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By Larry C. Johnson
Horribly sad news out of Iraq overnight. Ten brave Marines died in a bomb blast while clearing a factory in Fallujah. At least another eleven of their brothers were wounded during the same operation. I guess the insurgents in Fallujah did not get the memo from Condi Rice and other Bush Administration hawks that things are fine and the insurgency is, as Dick Cheney said, in "its last throes".
Just two months ago Condi Rice claimed:
Each day increased numbers of trained and equipped Iraqi security forces are being fielded against the insurgents, Rice said. And, "with more capable Iraqi forces, we can implement this element of the strategy," she explained, which is to have Iraqi troops go "neighborhood by neighborhood" to flush out insurgents and secure territory. . . .Former Iraq hot spots are being pacified, Rice said, noting that security along the Baghdad airport road "has measurably improved." In contrast to a year ago, life is also now calmer in places like Mosul, Najaf, Fallujah, and formerly frenetic parts of downtown Baghdad, Rice said.
Condi was not the only one seeing light at the end of the Fallujah Tunnel. Marine Major General Johnson (no relation) told reporters in a press conference broadcast from Fallujah on October 7, 2005:
"The Iraqi army, still partnered with Multinational Force-West forces, has grown in capability and size and, in my view, professionalism. One Iraqi army division and two-thirds of another one are conducting operations in Al Anbar province with our forces. Embedded in those organization are military transition teams that mentor, train and assist the Iraqi forces. And last month, for the first time, one of the brigades of the 1st Iraqi Division took over a battlespace for the first time on its own and it's taken the lead in planning and coordinating and executing operations in that battlespace."
All well and good until you consider the implications of this attack. The Marines were clearing a factory. The enormous blast that killed our Marines had been carefully placed inside over a period of time. This appears to have been an ambush. Clearly the Marines had poor intelligence about the factory and there was no control around its perimeter in the days preceding the patrol. No neighbors in the area chose to alert U.S. forces that they were walking into the jaws of death. And, more importantly, where were the damn Iraqi troops accompanying our Marines? Why didn't they fan out in advance and gather intel that might have prevented the loss of these brave troops.
When you are fighting an insurgency and do not have the genuine support of the locals, it is relatively easy to kill alot of Americans. God bless the souls of these brave Marines who have died fulfilling their duty. Too bad their civilian leaders do not have the same code of honor and integrity.