Highlights

 
Quotable
War doesn't make boys men, it makes men dead.
Ken Gillespie
Original Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
May 5, 2004

The Meaning of Fallujah


by Patrick J. Buchanan

On some cable networks, they were comparing it to the Battle of Stalingrad, which is absurd. At Stalingrad, 500,000 Red Army soldiers died along with 147,000 Germans. Another 91,000 Germans surrendered, few of them ever to be seen again.

No, Fallujah was no Stalingrad. It was not even first Bull Run in 1861, where society matrons rode out to see the rebels routed and saw instead a Union Army streaming in panic back up the road to Washington. Union and Confederate dead at Bull Run were near 900.

In Fallujah, U.S. dead were several score at most.

Yet, as Stalingrad was the turning point of the war and Bull Run meant Lincoln must fight a long war or let the Confederacy go, Fallujah may prove a decisive battle in Bush's war, and presidency.

For after the killing of the contractors and the desecration of their bodies, we were told punishment was certain and coming. And should Fallujah refuse to give up the killers, it would be taken. When a superpower gives an ultimatum, it must make good on it.

Yet when the insurgents defied the Marines, and the Marines prepared to fight their way in and finish off the 1,500 fighters, U.S. commanders ordered them to withdraw. Last week, a Republican Guard general was sent in to Fallujah to work things out.

The insurgents had mocked a truce offer by sending out a small truckload of worthless weapons. They had mounted nightly assaults on the Marines. And after the Marines pulled out, photos of their jubilant enemies were flashed across the Middle East. Message to the Islamic world: The superpower can be defied.

Fallujah belongs to the insurgents. The enemy has established a sanctuary, a base camp in U.S.-occupied territory in a war zone, as has radical Shi'ite Sheik Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf.

The message from Fallujah is that either the Americans are afraid to take casualties or they are afraid to inflict heavy casualties in an urban battleground for fear that pictures of smashed mosques and dead women and children could convert any tactical Marine victory into a strategic U.S. defeat in the battle for hearts and minds.

But if that is the call the president has made, how do we win the war? How do we stop provocations out of Fallujah? How do we answer attacks mounted out of the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala?

If the Americans with all their firepower are unwilling to kill or disarm the insurgents, militias and foreign fighters in the cities, how do we expect an Iraqi regime set up by the UN to do the job?

"April is the cruellest month," said T.S. Eliot, "breeding lilacs out of the dead land." April summons up hope and promise when neither may be justified. Consider what April brought for us in Iraq.

– As many U.S. dead and wounded as we suffered in the initial invasion and occupation.

– Perceived U.S. defeats in Fallujah and Najaf, where the enemy holed up after launching murderous assaults on U.S. troops.

– Surveys among Iraqis that found that, outside the Kurdish north, 81 percent of Sunnis and Shia look upon us as occupiers, two-thirds want us out of their country, and half think there are occasions when Americans deserve to be killed.

– U.S. polls that show one-third of Americans now believe Iraq was never a threat. Half of us now believe the war was a mistake, 41 percent believe Bush's policies have increased the threat of terrorism, and 71 percent say his policies have damaged our image in the Arab world.

– This soaring hostility to the U.S. presence in Iraq and falling support for the war at home were recorded before the awful stories and graphic photos appeared of U.S. troops abusing Iraqi prisoners of war in the most depraved and humiliating fashion.

The president of Egypt says the United States has never been more hated in his part of the world. The King of Jordan has refused to come to the White House to protest what Arabs see as Bush's betrayal of the Palestinians to Sharon.

The questions raised by the events of April are far-reaching, even historic. Is the United States about to lose Iraq? Is America's Middle East policy collapsing?

With hatred of America and hostility to us pandemic, how long can we remain in Iraq? What now are the chances that Bush can build a government that is free, democratic, pro-American and willing to allow the permanent presence of U.S. bases on Iraqi soil? Who is winning the battle now for the Middle East, Bush or bin Laden?

One wonders if the president ever asks himself: Why did no one in my war cabinet warn me it could turn out like this.

COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.


comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • Can Uncle Sam Ever Let Go? 
    3/27/2009

  • Of Patriots and Assassins
    3/17/2009

  • Return of the War Party
    2/27/2009

  • The Long Retreat
    2/20/2009

  • Obama and the Great Game
    2/13/2009

  • A Bibi-Barack Collision?
    1/27/2009

  • Is Ehud's Poodle Acting Up?
    1/17/2009

  • Bush, Obama, and
    the Gaza Blitz
    12/30/2008

  • Obama's War
    12/19/2008

  • Can This Marriage Last?
    12/5/2008

  • The Rationale of Terror
    12/2/2008

  • Meeting Medvedev Halfway
    11/25/2008

  • Liquidating the Empire
    10/14/2008

  • An Amicus Brief for Neville
    9/30/2008

  • And None Dare Call It Treason
    8/22/2008

  • Who Started Cold War II?
    8/19/2008

  • Blowback From Bear-Baiting
    8/15/2008

  • Obama's War?
    7/29/2008

  • Honorable Exit From Empire
    7/25/2008

  • A Phony Crisis –
    and a Real One
    7/15/2008

  • No More Blank Checks for War
    7/11/2008

  • Who's Planning Our Next War?
    6/27/2008

  • Hitchens Demands an
    Eye for an Eye
    6/25/2008

  • Was the Holocaust Inevitable?
    6/20/2008

  • Is Bush Becoming Irrelevant?
    5/30/2008

  • Bush Plays the Hitler Card
    5/20/2008

  • Is It Jaw-Jaw or War-War?
    5/6/2008

  • Petraeus Points to War With Iran
    4/11/2008

  • Was WWII Really 'The Good War'?
    4/4/2008

  • Should We Fight for South Ossetia?
    4/1/2008

  • Does Balkanization Beckon Anew?
    2/19/2008

  • Blowback From Moscow
    11/30/2007

  • Is World War III on Hold?
    11/13/2007

  • Is a Vote for Rudy a Vote for War?
    11/9/2007

  • Who Restarted the Cold War?
    10/19/2007

  • Infantile Nation
    9/25/2007

  • Is Terrorism a Mortal Threat?
    9/21/2007

  • Stopping the Next War
    9/14/2007

  • Phase III of Bush's War
    9/1/2007

  • Has Bush Boxed Himself In?
    8/28/2007

  • Onward – Into Waziristan!
    8/3/2007

  • Hillary's Late Hit
    7/27/2007

  • This Is How Empires End
    7/20/2007

  • Tonkin Gulf II and
    the Guns of August?
    7/17/2007

  • How Scooter Skated
    7/6/2007

  • The Retreat of the Old Bulls
    6/29/2007

  • The Martyr of Mosul
    6/22/2007

  • On the Escalator to War With Iran
    6/15/2007

  • Who Lost Russia?
    6/5/2007

  • Does 'The Decider'
    Decide on War?
    5/30/2007

  • Why Congress Caved to Bush
    5/25/2007

  • But Who Was Right – Rudy or Ron?
    5/18/2007

  • Dying for...Estonia?
    5/4/2007

  • Wolfie's Piggy Bank
    4/17/2007

  • What a Lack of Courage Cost
    4/10/2007

  • Magnanimous Mahmoud
    4/7/2007

  • Interventions Without End?
    3/27/2007

  • Pelosi's Capitulation
    3/20/2007

  • Does Putin Not Have a Point?
    2/13/2007

  • Is Bombing Iran Bush's Call?
    2/9/2007

  • Hysteria at Herzliya
    1/31/2007

  • The Ideologue
    1/25/2007

  • The X Factor in 2008 – Iran
    1/23/2007

  • See the Superpower Run
    1/19/2007

  • Mr. Bush, Meet Walter Jones
    1/16/2007

  • Patrick J. Buchanan was twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the Reform Party’s candidate in 2000. He is also a founder and editor of the new magazine, The American Conservative. Now a commentator and columnist, he served three presidents in the White House, was a founding panelist of three national television shows, and is the author of seven books.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2017 Antiwar.com