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fallujah fight

I have been watching this Fallujah business fairly intently over the past few days and this is another example of failing to perceive the nature of the conflict. The news and the military are speaking of the insurgent effort fighting a last ditch effort in Fallujah. This is only partially true. I believe that the military will discover shortly that there was nowhere close to the 3000 militants in Fallujah that they projected. It will be no more than a few hundred. The various terrorist organizations have arranged for a small portion of fighters to make a symbolic last stand in Fallujah. The majority of these groups have already departed the city to find new havens throughout Iraq or beyond her borders. From those martyred in Fallujah perhaps three times that number will spring up elsewhere, inspired by the valiant fatalistic stand against hopeless odds. Islam, like most religions, is very susceptible to fatalism. What I think is more interesting is the developing attitudes on both sides. On the eve of the assault the residents and militants within Fallujah were heard chanting “God is great” amid the artillery strikes and aerial bombing. This is not surprising, of course. On the outside of the cordon similar activity was taking place. A Marine commander exhorted his troops saying, “The enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He lives in Falluja. And we’re going to destroy him.” (BBC News) Though this is but anecdote, I think it demonstrates an important point. The U.S. is in an ideological fight. If the political authorities refuse to color it that way, the soldiers themselves will. Ideology breeds ideology and asymmetrical warfare is always a temporary condition.

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