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Shocking!

American forces press into the heart of Falluja with mercifully few US casualties and discover "that many of the senior rebel leaders, including the Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had fled before the city was sealed off." Boy -- guerilla force flees rather than stand and be slaughtered by better-armed foe. Who could have predicted that except every goddamn person on the face of the earth. In a couple of days, things should settle down, the civilian population will return to their now-wrecked homes and places of business, no doubt extraordinarily grateful to the foreign army that got them wrecked. American forces will be reduced somewhat in number. US and Iraqi forces will come under sporadic insurgent attack. US and Iraqi forces will prove unable to provide day-to-day security to the local population. At best, Falluja will be like Baghdad. More likely, it will look like what Samarra looks like today within three or four weeks. Zarqawi will be somewhere else. Someday we'll capture him and it'll turn out that, just as with Saddam, capturing him doesn't actually solve any problems.

November 9, 2004 | Permalink

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» Surprise, Surprise from According to Levi
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Matthew Yglesias, a self-described "proud member of the reality-based community" had this to say earlier today:American forces press into the heart of Falluja with mercifully few US casualties and discover "that many of the senior rebel ... [Read More]

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Comments

They wouldn't have fled without this action. Fallujah can now be secured. But nobody expects you to understand this, so carry on. --s

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Nov 9, 2004 4:25:30 PM

I'll add, it wasn't the postman and the nurse who've been firing at U.S. forces for the last few months from inside Fallujah.

Posted by: j.scott barnard | Nov 9, 2004 4:26:59 PM

Fallujah is secured only until we have to storm (insert Iraqi city taken over by insurgents), leaving Fallujah or (insert another city) open to be taken over.

If we can hold Fallujah without leaving other cities open like this, that would be a positive development.

Posted by: Stacy | Nov 9, 2004 4:27:38 PM

They advertised this invasion for weeks before the city was ever enclosed!

I remember seeing the headline just a few days ago that the city had finally been closed off by friendly forces, and I thought "What the hell are they doing?!!"

If it was an effort to allow civilians to get out, fine, but that effectively kicks the whole operation in the balls does it not?

As predicted ad nauseum before the war, Iraq has become a guerilla engagement, but worse than that, we are fighting this guerilla engagement so that Iraqis can have a democratic style election where they return a Shia majority government who in turn installs a theocratic state.

We sho picked a good'un

Posted by: Harold Babar | Nov 9, 2004 4:35:33 PM

God, this is an asinine post.

So, some of the terrorists fled. And some stayed and fought. Matthew, in case you were not aware, that's the same as every other battle ever fought in the history of the world.

I mean, is it really some kind of revelation to Matthew that some left and some stayed? Does his think that our military is so completely stupid that they don't realize this would occur?

I think it's time for Matthew to relinquish that claim on being part of the "reality-based community"...

Posted by: Al | Nov 9, 2004 4:51:59 PM

it wasn't the postman and the nurse who've been firing at U.S. forces

Give it time.

Posted by: Toadmonster | Nov 9, 2004 4:52:10 PM

You're not surprised, are you?

Does Falluja look like Berlin in May 1945 yet?

Posted by: raj | Nov 9, 2004 4:52:43 PM

They advertised this invasion for weeks before the city was ever enclosed!

I didn't understand that part, either. But then it occured to me we had no choice if we didn't want to slaughter thousands of civilians.

There's the real nub of the problem. It's not our inability to take casualties. It's our fear of inflicting them. Powell is right. We've no business being involved in wars where we're not prepared to use overwhelming force. We're clearly not prepared to do so in Iraq.

We might have a fighting chance if they can continue to up the number of trained Iraqi forces, but those reports of insurgent infilitration of Iraqi government units are a bad, bad sign.

Posted by: October Surprise | Nov 9, 2004 4:54:54 PM

Note the photos of dead insurgents wearing fancy new bulletproof vests.

Posted by: praktike | Nov 9, 2004 4:58:00 PM

Look, I'm telling you, the chief purpose of this exercise was to deny the "insurgents" a location where they could securely organize. Sure, killing some of them is a nice bonus, but just scattering them accomplishes a great deal of the objective, and at lower cost in innocent lives.

You might not think that's a worthwhile objective, but you're not plotting our war strategy.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Nov 9, 2004 4:59:46 PM

Denying the insurgents use of Fallujah is something of a tactical success, but the fact that so many have apparently escaped is something of a strategic blow to our fortunes.

Posted by: Walt Pohl | Nov 9, 2004 5:05:41 PM

If Republicans move the goal posts and no one hears, does it make a sound? "Flypaper" doesn't work too well if the flies run right off of it.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer | Nov 9, 2004 5:07:28 PM

Look, I'm telling you, the chief purpose of this exercise was to deny the "insurgents" a location where they could securely organize

Yep. As we can see, denying the Chechen rebels the city of Grozny as a staging point in which to organize worked like a charm. The right wingers were clamoring for us to "level" Fallujah. If this is such a great idea, why didn't it work when the Russians leveled Grozny? Did they miss a spot, or something?

Posted by: Constantine | Nov 9, 2004 5:18:08 PM

Caution: low signal to noise ratio alert for this comment.

You're right, it doesn't really solve any problems, but what does? Really, I'm serious.

The problem is angry Islamic terrorists flying planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and other targets with intention of killing us.

We would like to prevent something like this from happening. Okay. What do we do to solve this problem?

Posted by: Slothrop | Nov 9, 2004 5:23:44 PM

On the contrary, if the purpose of flypaper is to keep the flies away from where YOU live, it scarcely matters whether they get killed, or just keep flying in circles around it.

I agree, it would have been better if we could have killed the insurgents... In which case people here would be screaming about civilian casualties instead. The existance of tradeoffs does not equal failure.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Nov 9, 2004 5:25:26 PM

Slothrop: Nothing we can do prevent terrorism will probably work, so we should support everything that is done that is called "anti-terrorist".

I realize that snarky sarcasm loses us votes, but Jesus, Lothrop, quit making me do that.

Posted by: Zizka | Nov 9, 2004 5:35:04 PM

You make a good point, Brett. As things stnd now, no one is likely to scream about civilian casualties.

Posted by: Dan | Nov 9, 2004 5:35:09 PM

Well, that's where the study I pointed to at the Bellmont blog comes in. There's a quite strict upper limit on the size and degree of internal communication a terrorist organization can achieve, before SOMEBODY gets turned, and the whole thing crashes and burns. And it's quite a bit smaller than the size Al Quaeda needed to pull off 9-11.

Denying them safe havens where they can mass and organize in relative security, means that they can only pull off small stuff. It's the key advantage we got out of taking out the Taliban.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Nov 9, 2004 5:36:46 PM

Slothrop

I don't remember hearing about any Iraqi insurgents flying airplanes into buildings. If you have heard of this, perhaps you could enlighten us when it happened.

Posted by: Bender Rodriguez | Nov 9, 2004 5:39:59 PM

What do we do to solve this problem?


We know the left-wingers' proposed solution: surrender.

Posted by: Al | Nov 9, 2004 5:40:21 PM

is this supposed to be a joke, cause i dont understand it one bit

Posted by: apple | Nov 9, 2004 5:42:00 PM

Al: 15 yard penalty for use of a straw man.

Posted by: Constantine | Nov 9, 2004 5:43:19 PM

I don't remember hearing about any Iraqi insurgents flying airplanes into buildings. If you have heard of this, perhaps you could enlighten us when it happened.


Actually, all 19 of the people who flew those planes into the buildings ended up dead. So I guess, according to Bender Rodriguez, we really didn't need to do ANYTHING after 9/11.

Posted by: Al | Nov 9, 2004 5:43:45 PM

Al, you don't have a solution. You are making things worse. Bush wiil strike a deal in the near future.

Posted by: McAdder | Nov 9, 2004 5:48:05 PM

Oh my god! A freakin' tragedy! Zarqawi and the boys aren't lining up to get their heads blown off by 155 arty.

This thread is ridiculous.

Posted by: Warthog | Nov 9, 2004 5:48:53 PM

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