I don’t claim to be an expert on global politics, and particularly not on military strategy. So, perhaps it is possible that this is why the situation in Fallujah has confused me for the last several weeks.
Lets see if we can figure this out.
November 2003- Three helicopters are shot down killing 25 people
3/31/2004- Four US “security guards” are killed and mutilated
4/5/2004- Heavy fighting is reported in Fallujah, Donald Rumsfeld promises a “methodical effort” to punish those responsible for the killings. 4-8 marines (depending on if you use logical or “pentagon” counting) are killed in what officials refer to as “security and stabilization” activities.
4/7/2004- Situation still not “secure” or “stable.” Eye witness Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times reports:
"There were platoon-sized groups. They brought in buses, blocked off streets, hit the Marines with counterfire," Perry said. The insurgents also "had anti-aircraft facilities that were shooting at the helicopters."
4/8/2004- Still nothing much has changed, US decides to halt “offensive” operations to talk to Iraqi officials in hope of a cease fire. Apparently the Iraqis didn’t care. Fighting continued, one marine is killed.
4/9/2004- Doctors report 450 dead and 1000 wounded in fighting. Iraqi officials are referring to the United States operation as genocide. Still not much has changed despite constant reassurance that the situation will be calming down soon. In light of the fact that the Iraqis did not seem to pay any attention to the fact that we had declared a cease fire, the United States decides to escalate actions in the area by sending an additional battalion.
To avoid this getting too long, lets skip some of what is essentially more of the same.
4/19/2004- Some agreement is reached. The “coalition” agrees that they will end the siege if the “insurgents” turn in all their heavy weaponry and give themselves up. This does not seem like much of a compromise. The US warns that soon they will have to resume offensive operations.
4/20/2004- Rumsfelt warns of potential new Fallujah offensive. Claiming, “We won’t wait forever.”
4/25/2004- US extends the deadline. U.S. Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt:
"if we don't start seeing delivery, we will cease the discussions and start other options," [presumably “other options are ending their theoretical cease fire]
4/27/2004- I guess we are giving it a go again. Warplanes are reported to be dropping bombs on Fallujah.
4/29/2004- After several days of bombing US announces a plan to pull out.
4/30/2004- In a bizarre twist, the Unites States presents the world with its “plan.” US troops will leave Fallujah to be gradually replaced by an Iraqi force led by one of Sadaam Hussein’s former generals who was apparently “carefully chosen.”
So excuse me for not knowing what the hell is happening here. We go in, claim we are going to take back the city. After a week of not much changing declare a cease-fire that is largely ignored by everyone. After two weeks of the United States making absurd demands pretty much consisting of “give us the city back and we won’t kill you,” we bomb the hell out of them for two days. Then I guess it seems like to much work and probably too politically costly to stay there, and we choose a plan of gradual withdrawal replacing ourselves with native forces? I see, I swear I have heard this plan somewhere before.
Anyone who understands what is happening here please leave a comment. Personally I just constantly hear in the news that we have a “plan.” This “plan” turns out to be somewhat akin to someone’s drunken NASCAR watching dad. He asks you to get him a can of Old Milwaukee 50 times because he is too lazy to get off the couch, then he beats the shit out of you, and asks your mom to get it for him.