The battle for Fallujah
is in full swing
, with U.S. forces having reached the city center after meeting only light resistance so far. "Coalition" casualties
have been light so far. No official count of casualties among insurgents, since the U.S. military no longer "does body counts
I have been struggling with a fair amount of ambivalence about this operation, dubbed "Phantom Fury" by whoever gives these things names that are straight off the box of a straight-to-video action movie. Nobody wants to wish ill on their own countrymen, and I am no exception. I want every American to come home to their families at the end of this thing, alive and well. But I don't believe in this war in general, and in this operation in particular.
Innocent people will die in this battle. And yes, I know that the insurgents are killing innocent people as well. They need to be stopped. But the only reason that these insurgents exist is the American presence in Iraq.
Bush said he saw a threat, then proceeded to create that threat by his precipitous war. And I know, this is old hat, lefty peacenik whining that the election should have silenced. Except that I'm no peacenik. We needed to kick the shit out of Afghanistan, and I'm glad we did. I believe myself capable of killing Osama bin Laden if I had the chance. I'm no appeaser when it comes to fanatic Islamists. If they want to see paradise, I say we show 'em the way.
But Bush conflates jihadists with all Arabs. In his dimly lit worldview, the craggy visage of Saddam Hussein morphs smoothly into the elongated features of Osama bin Laden. "They" (the ancient code word for racial anxiety) represent a threat to our culture and need to be stopped at all costs. 9/11 inculcated within him a persistent paranoia.
Now Iraqis and U.S. military personnel alike are paying the price. So, in this latest battle, would an American win truly be a "win"? Or are we just buying some time to stage elections, after which we will pull out of Iraq regardless of the security situation? Should we root for our troops regardless of the "rightness" of the cause?
What a mess Mr. Bush has made.