11.30.2004

Telling the Fallujah Story to the World

Military.com has the html of the report on Fallujah from the 1-MEF.

Really the only good thing about it is the maps. The rest is fairly well politicized. This thing started out as a powerpoint presentation, which figures, because I've never seen a powerpoint presentation that was ever worth a damn.

What's funny is that every piece of evidence presented in this report was found by "Iraqi Security Forces supported by multi national forces."

Yeah, name one thing the Iraqis found that hadn't been picked over by Marines. And who was in this "multi national force" that supported the Iraqi Security Forces in their attack on Fallujah? I don't think anyone was with us on that little expedition.

The first fifth of the presentation is dedicated to making a case against the Fallujan fighters for fighting in mosques. I know they're not supposed to do that, but what "story" is this telling? One everyone already knew I'm afraid.

The second fifth is locations of IED factories and many photos taken at a few of those factories. The captions throughout this presentation are kind of silly, but one in this section is priceless. It reads "The material used to create IED munitions do not discriminate between killing ISF soldiers or innocent children"

Who wrote this? The same Japanese guy that wrote the instructions for programming my VCR? Wait, I get it. It's one of those liberal things. Like how guns are evil, not the people using them to shoot children, only in this case it's the material in the IEDs which is so evil that it disregards who it's target is.

The third section is titled Atrocities. I have no doubt that the Marines found "slaughter houses" where people were decapped in Fallujah, but this whole section is pretty lame. There is no photo evidence except a few shots of blood on a couple of walls and on the floor of the NIROC (National Islamic Resistance Operational Center). Judging solely on the photos, this could easily be where wounded were treated or it could be where Marines took out some bad guys. The NIROC is not even alleged to be a slaughterhouse, although I'd say the National Islamic Resistance is guilty of killing hostages. There is only one slaughterhouse labeled in the map and there's no photos of it, and as far as I know that's the only slaughterhouse we found in Fallujah. There is one photo of a man labeled "slaughterhouse hostage", but that guy wasn't found in a slaughterhouse. Again, who wrote this crap?

The fourth section details weapons caches found across the city. There were a lot of weapons found in Fallujah, but this section isn't evidence of it. At the bottom is an itemized list which is fairly impressive, but a drop in the bucket of what's available in Iraq. It's good that we secured a lot of caches in Fallujah, but I've heard people talking like finding these weapons broke the back of the insurgency, which is just wishful thinking. As the man who fathered "shock and awe" William S. Lind said, "Insurgencies, like octopi, are invertebrate"

The last section is dedicated to showing evidence of foreign fighters in the Iraqi insurgency. And the evidence? First, a GPS unit with waypoints originating in Syria found in an IED factory. To me, this points to smugglers coming over the border instead of foreign fighters. I don't doubt we will once again be calling for Syria to control it's border. 'Course, we control that border too, so maybe we should let some people we trust, like the U.S. military do it? No no, why do something sensible when we can rattle the sabers?

The other evidence is a ledger containing the names of 27 members of Abu Hamza's radical Islamic group. Abu Hamza, of course, lives in London. The names are broken down by nationality. 5 Saudais, 4 Syrian, 3 Iraqi, and one each from Sudan, Morocco and Algeria. This is fairly interesting in that Abu Hamza is alleged to be allied with Al-Qaeda. This ledger would seem to indicate as much, with the broad nationalities represented. And this is what we want to look for.

Unfortunately the administration is more interested in crying "foreign fighters" for political purposes. Politically, we'd like to blame the entire insurgency in foreign agitators though this is obviously not the case. I think we only slotted a dozen foreigners in the entire Fallujah campaign. Compare that to an Iraqi body count of, what, 1000? 2000? Realistically, finding evidence of foreigners doesn't mean much anyway because no matter where a war is fought, foreigners will be involved in some way, whether smuggling, fighting, advising, or supplying arms. What would be important is finding foreign government involvement, but that ain't gonna happen for a couple of reasons. One, they're not that dumb, and two, they aren't really needed. This is a full blown popular insurgency, funded in part by wealthy locals and probably in part by Saddam.

The real foreign elements we need to be on the lookout for are Al-Qaeda related ones like in this ledger. It doesn't seem like Al-Qaeda has gotten a very good foothold in Iraq, and that's good, but we shouldn't discount their ability to launch coordinated strikes now, and more importantly, in the future. If Iraq ever gets settled down, Al-Qaeda has the ability to carry out concerted attacks on whatever government gains power. And you know what that means? It means they have the ability to keep us there for as long as they want.



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