So what's going on in Fallujah? Many are upset with Bush for giving in to the terrorists. There are a couple of things to keep in mind, however. First, Bush tends to give his subordinates full authority to deal with the situation without micromanagement. In general, he sets the objectives and lets the commanders on the ground decide how to accomplish the mission. Second, all might not be as it seems. For one, the Marines haven't gone anywhere. They're repositioning while the Iraqi forces take over some of the former duties. Belmont Club has some interesting thoughts on this:
It is in this context that the perplexing cycle of ceasefires punctuated by nocturnal assaults can be understood. The Corps, besides incorporating the Chinese word Gung Ho into it's vocabulary, may have finally proved to the Arabs that they can out-hudna anyone who ever stood on a patch of sand. By alternately throttling and releasing the enemy, or in cruder terms, by a process of talking and shooting, the USMC seems to have squeegeed the foe into the 'Golan' without ever precipitating the feared crisis. ("Like a cut flower in a vase, fair to see, yet doomed to die" -- Winston Churchill)
When the Press began trumpeting a humiliating Marine withdrawal and their ignominous replacement by Iraqi Fallujah Protection Army, the Belmont Club, although perplexed by the origins of the Fallujah Protection Army, still guessed that the Marines would not be withdrawn, as per innuendo, from around the 'Golan' cordon and that the Iraqis would be employed in stabilization and police duties simply because it was impossible for a force in contact with the enemy to be replaced by a unit which had yet to be constituted.
A lot of people with a better grasp of military tactics than I think what the Marines are doing makes sense. At the least, I get the impression that the Marine commanders are the ones calling the shots, rather than being called off by the politicians back home. I am concerned with even the appearance of giving in, but I'm not sure that's what's really happening. As I said before, I hope the commanders on the ground know what they are doing.
New Post: A Marine explains the thinking behind the strategy in Fallujah above.