Falluja: What to Do?

We haven’t said anything yet about the outrage in Falluja, mostly, I suppose, because nothing we have to say is printable. For now, we may as well wait to see what unfolds. In the meantime, I really don’t understand this:

Neither American forces nor the Iraqi police responded to the chaos. More than 4,000 marines are stationed near Falluja, 35 miles west of Baghdad. Marine commanders on Thursday defended their decision not to intervene. “Should we have sent in a tank so we could have gotten, with all due respect, four dead bodies back?” said Col. Michael Walker, a civil affairs commander. “What good would that have done? A mob is a mob. All we would have done was provoke them.”
An Iraqi policeman said he and his colleagues were united about what to do when the violence started. “We had to stay away,” Muhammad al-Esawi said. “What happened was between Americans and insurgents. If we got involved, we would have been killed.”

I’m not sure what a “civil affairs commander” is, but I hope Col. Walker isn’t running the Marine detachment in Falluja. I don’t think his determination not to “provoke” the mob in Falluja is quite what we need. On the other hand, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for the American forces, said:

We will respond. It’s going to be deliberate, it will be precise and it will be overwhelming. We will pacify Falluja.

I’m not sure “pacify” is exactly the right verb, but we may as well wait and see how the administration responds before commenting further.


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