Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Remember how the future was depicted in The Terminator? John Connor and his small band of guerillas hid in the shadows and were able to hold off the much stronger military force of the robots. Picture that in your mind, and now you know what it's like in Falluja today.
Picture American forces with incredible weapons, but who are unwilling or unable to truly engage the enemy. When Americans are attacked, they figure out where the attack is coming from and then level the building. By that time, of course, the insurgent forces (or should I say the resistance forces) have left. This NYTimes article gives some of the flavor of what a battle like this looks like.
Frankly, the insurgents think that American soldiers are cowards. They believe that Americans hide behind our big weapons and airplanes and are so afraid of death that they will not be able to beat the insurgents on their own terrain.
I have no idea if they are right or not. I would guess that if the Americans level enough buildings that they can "beat" the insurgency in Falluja even if they never actually get close enough to the actual fighters to see them. Eventually American bombs can make Falluja look just like that horrible Terminator landscape.
Meanwhile, the leaders will have left Falluja and established operations elsewhere. The 1000 dead insurgents will be replaced by 2000 enraged relatives and friends. The 5000 dead civilians will never be replaced. Nor will the 10 or 20 dead American soldiers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A week or two later, Iraqi National Guard soldiers will start patrolling Falluja's semi-ruins and will be killed by the dozens or hundreds by car bombs, and Samarra or Ramadi will become the latest no-go zone for American soldiers. Maybe in February or March the Americans will go in and level those cities too.
But the Iraqi John Connors will still own the shadows. Because even the US in its military heyday does not have enough bombs or time to obliterate all of the hidey holes.
This is a waste of time and life.