Saturday, November 13, 2004
** Iraq

Look, I'm posting this on Saturday night, but even if you don't see this entry until Monday or Tuesday, you really should read this NYTimes article. It's a slice of life from what's happening with the Marines in Falluja, but it reveals more about how fucked up things are there than any other article I've read about this battle.

While we're talking about Falluja, I want to raise the question of whether it is possible that the insurgents have lured the US to right where they want them. The article indicates that the quality of the insurgents' fighting has improved as the US has pushed deeper into the city. The insurgents are allegedly cornered, but there is also a tunnel system in place. Is it possible that the US is overextended, and that they could get beat by the hard core that's left of the insurgents? Given the confidenent statements from the US military and George Bush, this has to be seen as very unlikely. I mean, if the Americans were to retreat now and give the city back to the insurgents, there'd be no way to spin it. You have to think that the confidence is not completely misplaced.

But generals make mistakes, and conventional wisdom has been wrong before. Urban fighting is extremely difficult, and US forces are not experienced at this. So my question for you: is defeat thinkable? Current answer: probably not, but it is more thinkable for me now after reading the NYTimes article I linked to above than it was before.
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