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Falluja, Najaf and the First Law of Holes

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  • Falluja, Najaf and the First Law of Holes

    By William Rivers Pitt

    Monday 26 April 2004

    Anyone who believes that April has been the cruelest month of this Iraq war - 111 Americans killed with the total dead now at 718, hundreds upon hundreds of Iraqi civilians killed - should gird themselves for the reality that the worst, the very worst, the unimaginably awful, is still yet to come.

    It is bad enough that this second Bush war in Iraq has yielded nothing of what was promised by George and his merry crew. There are no weapons of mass destruction, there was no connection between the deposed Hussein regime and al Qaeda, there was no connection between Hussein and September 11, there will be no democracy for Iraq, and the Iraqi people have most definitely not welcomed us with open arms.

    Instead, Bush has mobilized anti-American sentiment to such a staggering degree that Shi'ite and Sunni, enemies for generations past counting, have united to fight us. The invasion and occupation has spurred an al Qaeda recruitment drive that has swelled the ranks of that organization. A lot of people are dead, American and British and Spanish and Polish and Iraqi alike. Nine Americans and 28 Iraqis were killed this weekend alone. The light at the end of this tunnel is an oncoming freight train.

    That's not the worst part, however. The worst part is yet to come, in two cities called Falluja and Najaf. Americans paying attention to the spiral of violence in recent weeks will recognize those names, for they have been at the center of heavy combat since the month of April began. Bush administration officials, rocked back on their heels by the eruption of death there, were forced at one point to sue for a cease fire with the 'insurgents' they had supposedly defeated last May, when the mission was declared accomplished and the end of major combat operations was declared over during a photo-op on an aircraft carrier several time zones away from the violence.

    The cease fire has failed, and American forces are at this moment surrounding Falluja and Najaf with the intention of invading these cities and routing the 'insurgents.' A showdown is coming, and nothing good will be made of it.

    U.S. military planners have spent many years now studying about and training soldiers for the realities of urban combat. The city of Falluja should be the first chapter in the urban combat strategy binder titled "Worst Terrain Imaginable." The city has nearly 300,000 residents and is made up of a dizzying maze of narrow streets, wide boulevards and back alleys. Most of the apartments have porches that will serve Iraqi snipers and RPG-toting helicopter hunters well. Every neighborhood has a mosque, a school, markets and clinics which, if struck by an errant American bomb, will deliver horrible numbers of civilian casualties.

    The politics of the looming Falluja incursion are another thing again. Hajim al-Hassani, of the Iraqi Islamic Party, sits on the American-compiled Iraqi Governing Council, but has little credibility among the people in Falluja. He is seen as not having been able to stop American forces from fighting in that city, and the Iraqi Islamic Party itself has been accused of collaboration with America. The mayor of Falluja, Mahmoud Ibrahim, is disliked by many of the city's residents. He informed officers of the American forces a few days ago that he had no control over Jolan, Hayal Askeri and Shuhada, three sections of the city which make up half its area. In other words, both representatives for this town are basically useless in any effort to call a halt to the attack.

    The religious aspect is easily the most explosive element in this matter. Falluja is a Sunni town. Through the almost mystical bungling of the Bush administration, it has become tied to the holy city of Najaf, a Shi'ite stronghold. This city, like Falluja, has been surrounded by American forces and faces imminent attack. If an attack against Najaf is indeed undertaken, the consequences for Iraq, and indeed for the entire Middle East, will be unimaginable.

    Najaf is the site of the tomb of Ali, the most important Shi'ite saint. It is a holy city, like Mecca and Medina, and is the symbolic capital for Shi'ites all around the world. If American forces attack Najaf, every Shi'ite on the planet will have a dog in the fight. Iran, a Shi'ite-controlled nation, may well become involved. Shi'ite religious leaders will issue fatwas demanding massive numbers of suicide attacks against Americans.

    Do the math.

    American forces attack Falluja, and become ensconced in a brutal street-to-street fight within the confines of that maze-like city. 300,000 civilians will be caught in the crossfire, and the resulting carnage will enflame the Iraqi people to a degree not yet seen. American forces will absorb brutal casualties. If the U.S. decides to avoid troop casualties by bombing Falluja in a repeat of Shock and Awe, the loss of civilian life will be beyond severe.

    Simultaneously, American forces attack Najaf, a holy city central to the spiritual lives of millions of Shi'ites around the world. An explosion of rage will engulf the Middle East. Iran, which has something resembling a real army, could very well drive across the border to engage American forces that are already stretched. This war, already a ridiculous mess, will become an unmitigated catastrophe.

    Anyone who thinks Iraq is a bad situation now should reserve judgment until the end of this week. George W. Bush and his crew have clearly forgotten the First Law of Holes: When you find yourself deep in a hole, stop digging. If this is what Bush meant when he talked about "changing the world" in his recent prime-time press conference, we are all in a great deal of trouble.
    I hate it when I see one of those road signs that says "Draw Bridge Ahead" and I don't have a pencil.
    -Lou Chiafullo

  • #2
    Is there a specific reason

    that you continue to post drivel such as this? Are you related to Kerry, Kennedy, or one of those people?



    • #3
      If this drivel to you certainly this is not to others. Is this not permitted in this board? If you don't want to read this then go ahead take a nap or how about making a board of your own where everything posted is within your liking.
      I hate it when I see one of those road signs that says "Draw Bridge Ahead" and I don't have a pencil.
      -Lou Chiafullo


      • #4
        Nope, that's the reason for these boards!

        So that anyone can say anything about the subjects posted.

        We just disagree......and I really don't like to come off so pissy....but some things I tend to take to heart. I will not take a nap.......although I'm old and do tend to get sleepy. I am always curious to know or see what the "other side" is believing/thinking/doing.



        • #5
          I for one think that its nice to see a different slant in these forums. There are others in here that always post against Kerry et al. And if I remember correctly dog and I had some rather heated discussions over those as well. Balance gentlemen is the key. We are now getting both sides to these stories.


          • #6
            I really do have to laugh now that there is some anti-Bush slant showing up to even things out. I don't really care for it any more than I cared for the anti-Kerry stuff, but it's nice to see a back and forth tennis match rather than a one-sided ace every few days.
            If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.


            • #7
              And if you guys any of my posts

              I don't really bash Kerry......In fact, I don't think I've actually said ANYTHING "about" him.

              All I try to do is defend the war on terrorism.....which in my opinion every country on the planet should be involved in and should have the very least.....the day after the Israeli athletes were held hostage and then killed in Munich.

              My point is mainly that no one has ever fought them for any length of time and now that we and our allies are...we're catching crap for it. Somebody has to stand up and say enough.

              and yeah, Coldfire, you and I had words and I think chrisvalla and I did as well.....I'm normally a nice guy.....honest...just ask my wife...wait....don't ask her right now....she's mad because I didn't cook dinner last night



              • #8
                For Geeky Nerd and Moondog

                Yes GN, your posts are permitted, though I must say that a fair amount of your posts tend toward the reactionary. That being said, should your posts become objectionable, I will inform you privately.

                Moondog, I understand your objections, and even take common cause with you to a certain extent. Nonetheless, we all must realize that, regardless of what we post, there is at least one person out there who disagrees. Continue to post your beliefs, your opinions, your viewpoints, but remember that others are entitled to do so as well.

                Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)


                • #9
                  i'll try to be a good boy!!!

                  honest......and I understand that everyone has the right to their opinions.....I know....but as you know I don't always agree and I'm pretty quick to jump at someone who doesn't think like me.

                  I'll try to be more patient.....but no guarantees!!!!



                  • #10
                    Geeky Nerd and Williams Rivers Pitt


                    Certainly you are free to post as you will, within the boundaries of fact and good taste. However, If you intend posting articles by Mr. Pitt, I must say that it will not improve your image in my eyes. Even a browse through Mr. Pitt's writings expose him as extremely partisan, reactionary, and with a deficient vocabulary and language skills. One of the doom-and-gloom crowd, he subsists almost exclusively on conjecture, supposition, character assassination, and the "Chicken Little Syndrome". Facts are rare within his writings, if not absent.

                    Here are some examples from his article "Falluja, Najaf , and the First Rule of Holes."

                    ". . . gird themselves for the reality that the worst, the very worst, . . . is yet to come."

                    Is it? In what way? How will it become worse? Surely he must have some clue.

                    ". . . this second Bush war in Iraq has yielded nothing that was promised."

                    Was anything promised? I recall that a rationale was given - the President alluded to intelligence that gave him confidence that Iraq did possess WMD, that there was a Iraq - al-Qaeda link, that Hussein continued to pursue nuclear weapons, etc. If it arises that some or all of the intelligence was accurate, that does not imply wrondgoing, only perhaps that our collection and analysis methods may need reforming. If it is proved that one or more persons was involved in falsifying or misrepresenting intelligence

                    THEN should in depth investigation begin. Iraq is about twice the size of Idaho - comprehensive search will take time, how long would it take to search Idaho twice?

                    "The Iraqi people have not welcomed us with open arms."

                    What people is he talking to? The extremists in Fallujah and the Sunni Triangle? Muqtada al-Sadr and his "Mahdi Army"? Did Mr Pitt talk only to those whose answers he knew would sync with his agenda. Certainly, not every Iraqi is happy right now, even dismissing the terrorists and extremists. That is hardly surprising, given the turmoil of a war, regime change, and civil and sectarian twice. Perhaps a more operative question would be to ask how many think they will be happy in 3, 5, 10 years? As is so often in the case of people who have never known freedom and democracy - when they get a taste, they want it all at once. Ask the Eastern European nations, who have had freedom and democracy now for more than 10 years. How long did it take for democracy to truly take root? How long did it take for the economy to stabilize, for the free market to build? Certainly not only a year or two. So it is not suprising that many Iraqis are unhappy, but they believe that happiness is within reach.

                    "The worst is yet to come, in two cities called Falluja and Najaf."

                    Certainly Fallujah and Najaf will be a challenge. The terrorists have several advances, but our troops and their officers have used the time of the cease-fire to reconnoiter and sight in their weapons. Yes, some troops may die, probably civilians as well. In the final analysis, the greatest number will be among the terrorists. They know, as do our troops, that the cannot hope hope to prevail in a set-piece battle, and out troops will not engage in hit-and-run battle any more than is necessary. In Najaf, owing to the presence of the Ali Mosque, for US troops to enter is, in itself, a provocative act. A possibility is for US troops to secure outlying regions, with Iraqi militia entering the area of the mosque and other shrine. Should they encounter gunfire form any holy site, let it be their offers to decide on the course of action. As well, several moderate clerics are attempting to come to a rapprochement with al-Sadr. In general, operations in Fallujah and Najaf will not necessarily be apocalyptic.

                    "The cease fire has failed, and US troops are surrounding Falluja and Najaf."

                    In fact, the cease-fire did not fail. It was ended overnight (26-27 April) Also, US troops surrounded both cities gradually before and during the cease-fire.

                    Again, Mr. Pitt makes several apocalyptic claims, accusations, suppositions, without the slightest presentation of evidence. Yes, civilians will continue to die, as they do in every war. Our troops and leaders do all that they can to protect and avoid civilians, but if their adversaries are determined to use civilians as "human shields" civilians will die. Also, our troops will not endanger themselves to avoid hurting or killing others. A dead soldier is of no use to anybody. Further, Mr Pitt's attempts to ignite sectarian turmoil, alleging that by the "mystical bungling of the Bush Administration" that our troops are "tied to the holy city of Najaf" in addition to Fallujah. On the contrary, neither Fallujah nor Najaf are religiously oriented. Regardless of the religious views Fallujah's or Najaf's inhabitants, the fighters of both cities are terrorists, nothing more. Regardless of the missives of Muqtada al-Sadr, he "army" are terrorists to the core, and follow him not because of his alleged religious standing, but be cause they are promised a chance to fight, and spoils of war as well. They are no more "holy warriors" than the SS.

                    After the smoke and mirrors are brushed aside, Mr. Pitt is no better than an agent provocateur, a slavish talking head, serving some master unknown to us. What a pity
                    Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                    (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)


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