March 2004

The events in Fallujah were truly despicable. The people responsible and those who support them need to be brought to account. Actually, the whole city needs to be brought to account and a few daisy cutters would certainly send a strong message. Fortunately for Fallujah, the US is a humane power that does not use collective punishment, unless it has to.

Many of the perpetrators were caught on film. Perhaps each face could be put on a wanted poster with a reward for information leading to their arrest. But that sounds too wimpy for that mob. Better to lock down the city and root out the scum, block by block and house by house. And better to do it using Iraqi forces.

What do other bloggers think should be done? Here’s a sample:
Phil Carter at Intel dump says

At the tactical level, this attack may have destroyed one American convoy. But news of this attack, and the Iraqi mob’s behavior, has likely reached every American and coalition soldier now serving in Iraq. Just as the news of the Malmedy massacre during WWII enraged U.S. troops and gave them a reason to fight harder, so too will this event. I don’t want to suggest for one minute that American troops will commit an atrocity to respond in kind. This isn’t Vietnam, and our junior officers and NCOs are too professional to let that happen. But you can bet that every American fighting man and woman in Iraq feels the rage from this incident, and their leaders will now seek to focus and apply that rage constructively to dismantle and destroy every remaining part of the Iraqi insurgency. Payback will be swift, severe and certain.

The hardest part of any counter-insurgency operation, as Army LTC Gian Gentile and MAJ John Nagl have observed, is properly calibrating force to destroy the insurgency without losing the hearts and minds of the civilian population. The challenge for American commanders in Iraq will be to devise an appropriate response for this incident that effectively targets and kills the Iraqi insurgents without causing too much collateral damage. For what it’s worth, there is enough anti-American sentiment in Fallujah that we don’t have that much to lose there, and thus a heavy-handed approach will not risk much. However, I am confident that American planners are working on this problem right now.

Mike Silverman at Red Letter Day asks if it’s

Time to get medieval in Fallujah?

He suggests something similar to my wimp response.

Windrider at Silent Running things Fallujah should be wiped off the face of the Earth.

Blockade the city. Declare a dusk to dawn curfew. Begin a house to house sweep and evacuation of every resident. Based upon random lottery assignment, relocate them to a town outside of the Sunni Traingle, where they will be the minority. Publicize the fact of their presence throughout their new neighborhoods. The more radical and recalcitrant amongst them, settle them in uninhabited spots of the Western Iraqi desert, with about 3 months worth of food, and some building materials. After everyone is moved out of the city, bulldoze the entire place. No two stones left on top of one another. But instead of then sowing it with salt, plow and irrigate the entire place, so that it it actually becomes productive for a change.

Emperor Darth Misha I of The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweller responds quite vigorously. This is the mildest quote I could find:

What I am saying, however, is that we need to approach Falluja and the Sunni Triangle the same way a surgeon would approach a tumor in a patient.

You can either cut out the tumor and incinerate it, or you can leave it in there and let the patient die.

He does mention using a MOAB, similar to my first thought on seeing the news.

Robert Prather of Insults Unpunished has more links. He agrees with one of his links that:

our response should be swift and brutal

Kevin Drum(formerly Calpundit) says:

I hope this isn’t a sign of worse things to come

SWLiP writes that:

If anyone should look at this and wonder why we are in Iraq, it is precisely because we need to defeat this sort of pathology, and we cannot defeat it by allowing murderous, kleptocratic, terrorist-supporting regimes like that of Saddam Hussein to survive.

He also quotes the reaction of an Iraqi blog poster that I’ll subquote:

As an Iraq I feel an immense sense of shame as to what happened today in Fallujah, and what has been happening everyday over the past years in Iraq, especially the killing of Iraqis and foreigner trying to rebuild our country… I cannot believe the things we are seeing.

BruceR at FLIT suggests that that the attack was motivated by earlier Marine operations in Fallujah:

Things in Fallujah, which as in Samarra, had settled down to a stay-out-and-let-live policy after some earlier unsuccessful attempts to bring the town under control, ratcheted up after the Marines rotated into the area and decided to try again. They responded to a fatal convoy ambush, the latest in a series of deadly attacks on them, with raids into the city the next day… raids that may have involved some indiscriminate shooting, and certainly seem to have angered the local population. Elements of that population struck out four days later at the nearest target they could kill.

Robert Tagorda at Priorities & Frivolities asks:

Will today’s atrocities prompt serious reconsideration of the “First, Do No Harm” edict? Should they?

He notes Glenn Reynold’s suggestion that:

Perhaps we should consider an end to infrastructure and services repair in Fallujah for a while.

I’d cut off power, water and gas until everybody involved in the insurgency has been turned over to the coalition along with their weapons, ammunition and bomb making materials. Nothing goes in, nothing gets out until that happens.

Michael Morris of The American Thinker draws parallels with the relatively successful Phoenix program in Vietnam.

Falluja has turned into a no-go area for Coalition forces, defeating the whole purpose of going into Iraq. We cannot just bypass a whole town in Iraq because it’s a tough nut to crack. The war in Vietnam demonstrated the folly of ceding the enemy control over home base territory.

There should have been advance notice that assasination, and the celebration thereof, is not going to be tolerated. A couple of Apache helicopters then should have been dispatched over that wreckage as soon as Coalition forces were aware of what had happened, and should have annihilated the whole crowd of Iraqis jubilantly dancing in glorification of the deaths of more Westerners.

Apache, daisy cutter, something like that to wipe the grins off their sick faces and their sick faces off our TVs. Check this NY Times photo out while it’s still there. Those are Americans hanging there.

Update: Steven den Beste explains why untargeted retaliation is exactly the response that the attackers wanted.
Wretchard explains what the response will be.


Ombusgod picked up this nice example of moral equivalence.

Michael Getler, the ombudsman at the Washington Post, explains why Palestinian terrorist attacks are not terrorism:

The Israelis, of course, describe such acts as terrorism. But to adopt the language of one side in what is essentially a bitter war carried out daily over many years by gunmen and suicide bombers on one side and an army on the other is not something that The Post, or most other news organizations, is going to do. Palestinians view many Israeli actions — collective punishment, targeted killings, civilian casualties, house demolitions — as terrorism, as do some human rights groups. But The Post does not adopt their language either.

I bet al Qaeda would describe US attacks on them and the Taliban as terrorism. The US bombed houses, compounds and villages occupied by Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters and their families. It used a predator armed with a missile in the targeted assassination of al Qaeda fighters in Yemen. If it hadn’t been for a defense department lawyer, Mullah Omar would have met the same fate. Destroying the Taliban government was rather severe collective punishment. By The Post’s own standards, it should stop referring to al Qaeda operations as “terrorism”.

I might add that the Israeli Army’s reprisals are designed to minimize civilian casualties while Palestinian attacks are designed to maximise civilian casualties. This distinction must be too subtle for the Washington Post to notice.
One more point: How long do you think the Jews in Israel would survive if the military strength of the two sides was reversed?

It’s sort of neat how Bush got the Democrats and the media to scream for Condi to appear before the 9/11 commission. That screaming drowned out some of Clarke’s message and gave the administration and its supporters time to pick apart his credibility. Now Bush can play his best card at the right point in the game. Condi testifies in public and under oath. Her testimony won’t contradict her prior secret testimony and she knows a lot more than Clarke about the events surrounding 9/11. His testimony is already suspect and he wasn’t in the loop.

According to their press release of 3/26/04:

The nation’s leading Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today expressed great concern over the United States’ veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution Thursday evening condemning the Israeli government. The resolution censured Israel for their targeted assassination of Sheikh Ahmad Yassim, a 67-year-old quadriplegic and the most prominent Palestinian Islamic figure, outside of a Gaza City
mosque earlier this week.

Here’s a simple quiz for CAIR.

  1. Was Yassim the founder and leader of HAMAS?
  2. Is HAMAS dedicated to the destruction of Israell?
  3. Has HAMAS taken responsibility for terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians?
  4. Is HAMAS on the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations?

On second thoughts, maybe Jack Straw and the rest of of the EU terrorist appeasers should take this quiz.

A democracy with as many moving parts as the United States relies on a certain level of goodwill and mutual respect between political opponents to oil the machinery. Much of this is based on precedent, since both sides realize that the electoral process will reverse their positions, as they win and lose election. However, if one side is determined to defeat the other by any means necessary, then the system starts breaking down. It gets worse if that side also decides it can achieve its political and social objectives from outside the system.

The Democrats seem to have chosen to defeat the Republicans by all means possible in all arenas of conflict. They have chosen to do so while the country is facing its greatest threat since facing down the might of the Soviet empire.

On September 11th 2001, the United States was hit by a terrorist attack of unprecedented lethality. 3000 people died at the hands of an enemy that had declared war on the United States a decade ago. For a few brief months, the nation was united, apart from the Chomskys and Saids who said the US had it coming. Bush II launched a counter-attack on al Qaeda and the Taliban, the regime that was providing refuge, protection and aid to the al Qaeda, despite misgivings from the likes of the New York Times. But Bush had bipartisan support. The war against the Taliban was largely successful although Osama Bin Ladin (the Islamic Religious Leader who had issued the Fatwa declaring war on the US) and Mullah Omar (the leader of the Taliban) apparently escaped. The mainstream media started carping and second guessing.

The Bush II team realized that the US was at war with more than just al Qaeda. It was at war with an Islamic movement that had grown out of Arab failure and Muslim pride. It was also facing the prospect of an enemy that would have no compunction about using weapons of mass destruction against the US no matter how devastating the response. If the enemy was not aligned with a particular state, who could you nuke in retaliation for a dirty-bomb attack in Washington or an Anthrax assault on LA? How to respond? The Bush doctrine provided answers.
1. State sponsors of terrorism were to be targeted as directly as the terrorists themselves.
2. The US could no longer afford to wait until a threat became imminent.
3. The Middle East needed to be democratized, so that the frustration and rage that fed terrorism could be redirected into pride and nation building.
For many reasons — strategic, political, historical, legal — the regime of Saddam Hussein became target #1 in the ongoing war on Islamic terrorism. The US legislature agreed, the UN agreed through resolution 1441, and Bush II threatened Saddam with war unless he complied with all UN resolutions. The causa belli was Saddam’s refusal to come clean on his WMD programs. Whether through insanity, stupidity or Franco/Russo assurances, Saddam called Bush II’s bluff and suffered the consequences. The pictures of Saddam emerging from a septic tank and being inspected for lice sent a powerful message to our enemies. Libya took the message to heart.

Let us pause here, and go back to Pearl Harbor. The US suffered a devastating surprise attack on its most important naval base and 2403 Americans were killed. No Republican publicly suggested that FDR knew the attack was coming but let it happen for political reasons.
In response, FDR declared war on Germany, Italy and Japan and attacked the Vichy French first. The Republicans did not second-guess FDR on that decision. They agreed that the Allies faced many enemies, but the choice of which to confront first and how to advance the war belonged with the President, the Commander-in-Chief. But today, the Democrats are complaining that attacking Iraq was an unnecessary diversion in the war on terror. It would be like the Republicans urging FDR to ignore Nazi Germany so he could concentrate on Japan. That didn’t happen because the Republicans respected FDR’s position as Commander-in-Chief of a nation at war. Present day Democrats show no respect for the present Comander-in-Chief, despite his astounding military success against al Qaeda, the Taliban, Saddam, Libya and Pakistan’s Islamic nuclear arms export business.

When David Kay reported that he found evidence of WMD programs and concealment, but no evidence of WMD stockpiles, the Democrats and their media allies could barely conceal their joy. Forget the big picture. Forget the threat. Forget the wars that Saddam launched. Forget the mass graves. Forget the plot to assassinate Bush I (Republican, doesn’t count). Forget the payments to Palestinian suicide bombers. Forget Ansar al-Islam. Forget Saddam’s gas attacks against the Kurds and Iranians. Forget his prior attempts to gain nuclear weapons. Forget his bribery and corruption. Forget the fate of any Iraqi who opposed Saddam. Forget 9/11. Forget the Bush Doctrine. Forget Israel. No stockpiles: Bush had lied and had needlessly sacrificed American lives based on that lie. And so the Democrats and their media allies have their causa belli for bludgeoning Bush II.

Had Bush II taken the advice of France ($100 billion dollars of oil contracts at stake) and Germany (discreet arms supplier) and Belgium (infamous as a brutal colonial power), and many leading Democrats, the US would have backed down from its confrontation with Saddam, scaled back its troop deployments on Iraq’s southern border, and put Hans Blix in charge of the war on Terror.

But now, through the fog of war and the uncertainties of its aftermath, the Democrats have emerged with a mission: to discredit the Commander-in-Chief and his fight to defend America from an implacable enemy. Jimmy Carter, breaking the convention that past presidents do not criticize sitting presidents, has traveled the globe assailing the Bush administration on the Iraq war and anything else that he doesn’t agree with. Former ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger to check out the intelligence that Saddam had bought Uranium in Niger. He came back and blabbed to the Times. Richard Clarke, a former adviser to Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II resigned and then wrote a book highly critical of the administration he had allegedly served. The timing of his book, his past political donation record and his attempts to rewrite history in Clinton’s favor mark him as a Democrat operative ready to say anything and do anything to prevent Bush II from winning a second term. Mark Steyn has his number. And Clarke is now following the Democrat pattern of breaking long-standing political conventions for short-term political gain. By speaking out against the last president he served before his term is over, Clarke has destroyed the trust that one administration should have in high ranking public servants carried over from the previous administration. That continuity is very important in matters of national security, which is why both parties observed the convention. Not any more.

I will give Bill Clinton credit for not being a party to the current Democrat leadership’s strategy of destroying bi-partisan political conventions for short-term gain. But the rest of the Democrat party, the Kerry/Howard wing that is in ascendancy, seems determined to destroy the bi-partisan conventions that have served this nation well through great national crises. They are not patriots and they are not traitors; they are little people who know not what damage they wreak upon the body politic.

It really annoys me when the media calls a terrorist who has just murdered a bunch of innocent civilians a militant or resistance fighter. Here’s a simple rule the media could observe: If the militant, activist or whatever belongs to an organization on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, then the correct term to describe that person is terrorist and the correct term to describe what they do is terrorism. The media should forget its current rule that says killing Jews isn’t terrorism.

This opinion piece by Ron Rosenbam is a must read. Link via Donald Sensing

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