Falluja Follies

On our radio show today, we had a lively debate about the situation in Falluja. Mitch Berg of Shot in the Dark took an optimistic view, suggesting that Iraqis have replaced the Marines in a sector where there is little action, and that the Marines are gathering their forces for a soon-to-come attack. Captain Ed, J. B. Doubtless and I all hooted at that scenario. It seems clear to me that Falluja is turning into a fiasco, that a political decision has been made not to pursue military action, and that a stand-down is taking place. If we didn’t intend for the Marines to fight, it would have been far better not to go through the motions of trying to avenge the four murdered and dismembered Americans.
Maybe Mitch will be proved right some time in the next week or two, but it sure doesn’t look like it at the moment. The Reuters photo below, in which, according to the news service, “Iraqi insurgents celebrate while riding through the streets of Falluja,” indicates how the current withdrawal is being viewed on the scene.
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In its ever-neutral way, Reuters notes: “Soldiers of the old Iraqi army led by one of Saddam Hussein’s generals patrolled the city of Falluja on Saturday, a year after U.S. President George W. Bush declared the U.S. ‘mission accomplished’ in ousting the Iraqi regime.”

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