Failure Looms at Fallujah

by | Apr 29, 2004

A turning point in what President Bush has called the War on Terrorism is at hand. How and whether the American military handles enemy confrontations in Iraq during the coming weeks will tell Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors everything they need to know about America’s resolve to defeat them. Thus far, the U.S. has […]

A turning point in what President Bush has called the War on Terrorism is at hand. How and whether the American military handles enemy confrontations in Iraq during the coming weeks will tell Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors everything they need to know about America’s resolve to defeat them.

Thus far, the U.S. has yielded to the enemy. Dared by Iraq’s supposedly moderate religious leader, Ayatollah Sistani, not to enter the holy city of Najaf, where radical Moslem cleric Sadr is hiding, Allied forces have refused to launch an offensive. Despite tremendous weapons superiority, the standoff at Najaf has lasted weeks.

At Fallujah, where thousands of enemy insurgents control the city, Coalition commanders have granted weeks of cease-fire, negotiations and compromise, giving the enemy time to entrench their positions and reinforce. The Marines surrounding the city have been ordered to hold back an all-out offensive.

Tactically, in both cities, America has boasted that we will not bomb mosques, where the enemy routinely hides its arsenal and its soldiers. It’s like being at a classic conflict outside a criminal safe house and having the police state in advance: “We’re coming in! But if you hide in the master bedroom, we won’t touch you!” And, since this is war, not crime, much more than a few bags of cocaine are at stake.

With the enemy distributing flyers in Fallujah awarding $ 15 million to assassinate Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt or Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. is undeniably the Paper Tiger of jihadist propaganda rants of the ubiquitous audio and video tapes. Anything less than total victory at Najaf and Fallujah will leave the enemy ­ and, arguably, radical Islam and the entire Arab culture ­ emboldened against America with a vengeance.

Yet President Bush has ordered the United States Marines to stand down at Fallujah; he has decided against ordering an unyielding offense, conceding Fallujah and Najaf to the enemy by default. This decision could only have come from the president, who met with military commanders last weekend. Fallujah was a crucial test of the President’s commitment to wage war without turning the other cheek. Bush has failed.

Bush’s likely presidential opponent, Sen. John Kerry, is worse: to the extent he has articulated a coherent philosophy, Kerry’s war strategy is to surrender America’s sovereignty to the United Nations.

Over two years following the worst attack in American history, another attack on America — nuclear, chemical, biological ­ looms and Americans are relentlessly instructed that we must resign ourselves to an unending jihadist siege as a permanent way of life.

So far, Americans have not responded decisively to such admonitions — or to the ominous appeasement in Iraq — and much will depend on America’s brave soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly whether they are allowed to fight.

But make no mistake: America’s half-measures at Fallujah and Najaf will lead to more humiliating defeats — and the next strike in America is bound to kill 30,000, not 3,000. That is because, while our faith-based president goes wobbly for weeks at a time over whether to bomb a mosque, the enemy will not hesitate to destroy that which Americans hold as sacred -­ and that is why we are losing the so-called War on Terrorism.

Scott Holleran's writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Classic Chicago, and The Advocate. The cultural fellow with Arts for LA interviewed the man who saved Salman Rushdie about his act of heroism and wrote the award-winning “Roberto Clemente in Retrospect” for Pittsburgh Quarterly. Scott Holleran lives in Southern California. Read his fiction at ShortStoriesByScottHolleran.substack.com and read his non-fiction at ScottHolleran.substack.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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