Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Falluja pattern

We're starting to see a pattern in the new American way of war. The assault on the town of Al Qa'im (or here or here or here) is remarkably similar to the attack on Falluja. The characteristics:

  1. Pick an area with a significant local insurgency that can be destroyed for the purposes of teaching other areas a lesson.

  2. Seal off the town, so the civilians can't leave.

  3. Drop bombs on the captive civilian population (and, at least in the case of Falluja [or here], incendiaries).

  4. Level most of the economic hub of the city or town.

  5. Make grandiose claims about how many 'terrorists' have been killed, and unsupported allegations that a significant percentage of them were foreigners (in Al Qa'im, the local tribes may actually have been fighting to keep the very small number of foreign fighters out [or here], fearing exactly the kind of Falluja-style attack that they received).

  6. Seal the town off from journalists (and humanitarian workers) so the lies about the nature of the insurgents and the enormity of the war crimes cannot reach the rest of the world.

  7. Do everything possible to prevent the rebuilding of the town, so its ruins can stand as a warning to others.

  8. While withdrawing as quickly as possible before American casualties get completely out of hand (leaving behind only sufficient troops to man the checkpoints to keep journalists and humanitarian workers out and to prevent the civilians from rebuilding their lives), announce proudly and loudly that the operation was an enormous success.


Needless to say, each of these atrocities provides the fuel for the insurgency. The few foreign agents provocateurs only need cause enough trouble in an area to bait the Americans into such a series of war crimes, and sufficient local insurgents can be created to keep up the resistance indefinitely. The Pentagon is handling this so consistently stupidly, that it is impossible to believe that it is not just fulfilling neocon orders to lead to civil war in Iraq.

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