October 27, 2004
TAKING FALLUJAH: The New York Times reports that the U.S. military is preparing a massive assault on Fallujah. It is time.
I’m tempted to say it is long past time. Terrorists have lorded it over that town with impunity for months. It cannot stand. There’s an upshot to this, however. A recent article in the Washington Post suggests we are winning at least some hearts and minds by letting the thugs show the locals what they are made of.
Adnan, the taxi driver who moved his panicked wife and four children to another town, said attitudes toward the foreign fighters have changed dramatically since they poured into Fallujah after the Marines' siege ended in April. "We were deceived by them," he said. "We welcomed them first because we thought they came to support us, but now everything is clear."
Among the tensions dividing the locals and the foreigners is religion. People in Fallujah, known as the city of mosques, have chafed at the stern brand of Islam that the newcomers brought with them. The non-Iraqi Arabs berated women who did not cover themselves head-to-toe in black -- very rare in Iraq -- and violently opposed local customs rooted in the town's more mystical religious tradition…
Residents said the overwhelming majority of Fallujah's people also have been repulsed by the atrocities that Zarqawi and other extremists have made commonplace in Iraq.
Fallujah is ripe for the picking. Even if it weren’t, the so-called Iraqi “resistance” there has gone unopposed long enough.
The U.S. cannot be defeated on any battlefield. I can only hope the Bush Administration and the interim Iraqi government don’t pause in the middle to talk. They need to remember who we are fighting. The enemy has no demands we can give in to. As Christopher Hitchens recently put it, terrorism “is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.”
Remember Napoleon’s words to the wise: “If you start to take Vienna – take Vienna.”