Monday, April 05, 2004

Operation Valiant Resolve...................

The LA times reports the following-

FALLOUJA, Iraq -Thousands of Marines surrounded this anti-American stronghold early today in preparation for a complex raid to retake control of the city and apprehend those responsible for last week's slayings of four U.S. security contractors.

The highly anticipated action, dubbed Operation Valiant Resolve, was expected to be one of the biggest military offensives since the fall of Saddam Hussein's government a year ago.

All roads leading to this city of 300,000 were cut off and barricaded with tanks and concertina wire. Working through the cold and windy desert night, under a large moon, Marines set up camps for detainees and residents who might flee any fighting. Before dawn, several Marine positions were hit by mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Bursts of automatic gunfire could be heard throughout the city.

The Belmont Club has posted their speculation, and as usual is quite extensive in describing the contextual analysis.

Victor Hanson wrote a compelling journal entry over the weekend which ends with the question "So the question remains did Saddam create Fallujah or Fallujah Saddam?"

An Excerpt-

"The enemy of the Middle East is not the West so much as modernism itself and the humiliation that accrues when millions themselves are nursed by fantasies, hypocrisies, and conspiracies to explain their own failures. Quite simply, any society in which citizens owe their allegiance to the tribe rather than the nation, do not believe in democracy enough to institute it, shun female intellectual contributions, allow polygamy, insist on patriarchy, institutionalize religious persecution, ignore family planning, expect endemic corruption, tolerate honor killings, see no need to vote, and define knowledge as mastery of the Koran is deeply pathological.

When one adds to this depressing calculus that for all the protestations of Arab nationalism, Islamic purity and superiority, and whining about a decadent West, the entire region is infected with a burning desire for things Western-from cell phones and computers to videos and dialysis, you have all the ingredients for utter disaster and chaos. How after all in polite conversation can you explain to an Arab intellectual that the GDP of Jordan or Morocco has something to do with an array of men in the early afternoon stuffed into coffee shops spinning conspiracy tales, drinking coffee, and playing board games while Japanese, Germans, Chinese, and American women and men are into their sixth hour on the job? Or how do you explain that while Taiwanese are studying logarithms, Pakistanis are chanting from the Koran in Dark-Age madrassas? And how do you politely point out that while the New York Times and Guardian chastise their own elected officials, the Arab news in Damascus or Cairo is free only to do the same to us?

I support the bold efforts of the United States to make a start in cleaning up this mess, in hopes that a Fallujah might one day exorcize its demons. But in the meantime, we should have no illusions about the enormity of our task, where every positive effort will be met with violence, fury, hypocrisy, and ingratitude.

If we are to try to bring some good to the Middle East, then we must first have the intellectual courage to confess that for the most part the pathologies embedded there are not merely the work of corrupt leaders but often the very people who put them in place and allowed them to continue their ruin.

Zeyad at Healing Iraq tries to explain the sheer savagery of certain members of the town-

"As disgusting and horrible the Fallujah images were, you could see bystanders children there watching casually, if not cheering, without blinking an eye. I would not call those children evil, because sadly they do norealizese what they have become. The people that defiled the dead bodies were not technically terrorists, Ba'athists, or insurgents, they were common folk which makes it even more depressing. All respect for humanity has long been lost in a large section of Iraqis. I admit this concept is difficult, if not impossible, to explain to a western audience. "

After all this, one does wonder how this is going to play out. It is now quite evident that the Marines were wise to take their time in responding to this tragedy, so that the maximum effect could be attained. Simply driving in to the town and randomly securing areas would be pointless, as it would increase the civilian casualties, and not really change the facts on the ground. Ideally, we drop a MOAB, level the city, problem solved. And the more I read of the utter barbarism that defines Falluja, one might think this IS actually an option. But it's not, and it won't be. Zeyad at Healing Iraq echoes what I was afraid of last week-
"Bombing innocents would create more outrage and anti-american sentiment from people who are still against others making trouble. The culprits that were shown on tv can be found easily via informants in the area, and they should be punished severely."

Let's allow the Marines a chance to perform at the level for which they are known. Combined with Air support, the troops should be able to make quick work of the terrorists infecting this region, and hopefully begin the long painful process of removing them from the regular civilians who DO wish to join the new Iraq. And to keep this along the international flavor, there is increasing evidence that the attack in Fallujah, and the desecration of their bodies, was the work of Islamists seeking vengeance for the Israeli murder of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Leaflets found at the scene said the operation was in the name of Yassin. al-Hayat reports in its Friday edition that responsibility for the attack has been taken by a group called Phalanges of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The group said the deaths were a "gift to the Palestinian people." Wonderful. Let's keep this in historical perspective however. No one should think that Iraq will magically bloom in to a secular, America-loving democracy over night. Don't forget that the Nazi "Werewolves" a guerrilla/terrorist movement founded by Heinrich Himmler in 1944, fought the occupying forces of Britain, America and the Soviet Union until at least 1947. There will be Iraqi versions of the Werewolves, no doubt, but as the Marines like to say- "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy"..........

May this all end as soon as possible, and may there be as little as possible innocent civilian casualties as well as little as possible US Marine casualties. As for the mujihadeen who will be eliminated in the swiftest way possible, I hope you all die painfully. And say hello to Yassin and Saddam when you get to Hell. Bastards......

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