Ralph Peters on our “victory” in Fallujah:
QUIET isn’t the same thing as peace. As a column of Marines paraded through Fallujah this week, it was done at the sufferance of our enemies. We lost the battle of Fallujah. By surrendering.
The Coalition Provisional Authority insists that quiet streets are what matter. But the streets were quiet under Saddam. As they may one day be quiet under religious fanatics. Is that our sole remaining goal in Iraq? A phony calm that leaves terrorists in power?
We bragged publicly that we would avenge the mutilation of those four contractors at the hands of Fallujah’s thugs. We told the world we would not stop until the city was cleansed of insurgents. And, of course, we swore we would never negotiate with terrorists.
What did we actually do? We negotiated with terrorists, re-empowered Saddam’s thugs in uniform and ran away as quickly as we could go. The Marines insist they could have won, had they been allowed to fight. That’s unquestionably true, but, as North Vietnam’s senior general once pointed out about a different war, it’s also irrelevant.
If Bush is playing politics with the Iraq reconstruction, to look better in the general election, then the war is as good as lost.