THE TWIN DISASTERS- FALLUJAH AND ABU GHRAIB
It is alleged that during the Vietnam War, the key South Vietnamese administrator behind the Strategic Hamlet policy, the one that brutally uprooted the peasantry from their ancestral villages and forced them en masse into stockade-like compounds and consequently drove tens of thousands of unhappy peasants into the NLF, was alll along a Viet Cong agent .
Which makes me wonder what high level operative in the Bush administration is working for Osama bin Laden ?
This past week has been an inexcusable disaster. Fallujah gave the Arab world the impression of American indecision, weakness and retreat mixed with indiscriminate firepower. Abu Ghraib
adds the specter of tyranny.
Juan Cole had a guest commentary today on Fallujah
. It's important so go read it. If Fallujah was the center of an insurgency run by up to 1000 of Saddam's spetsnz-trained, Special Security Organization and Special Republican Guard
then it was important to finish the job and dig them out even if it meant fighting block by block, bringing back the heavy armor and announcing a " major combat operation " was in effect. Instead, after fighting our way part-way in to Fallujah and inflicting serious collateral damage on civilians, we halted while the bad guys remained intact as a fighting force. Then we bugged out. The worst of all worlds.
Fallujah is a military matter where the fault lies with the strategic judgement at the White House. It was a mistake but one that can be rectified with greater forethought in the future. Abu Ghraib is a moral problem, one that war supporters must take seriously. It is as if we re-opened the Dachau of Iraq and decided we liked the place. No, unlike the days of Saddam the electrodes were not actually turned on and no one lost their fingernails or were dipped into a vat of acid. And yes, most of the prisoners were themselves most likely vile and evil murderers and torturers themselves - the wretched flotsam of the Baathist regime and insurgent terrorists. That doesn't matter. There is no excuse. What happened at Abu Ghraib is appalling and it violates everything the United States of America stands for.
We do not have the luxury of stupidity and cruelty. It is very possible that we can lose this war and if we do it will be because Fallujah and Abu Ghraib defined our cause.