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Fallujah Folly

Reported by Marie Therese - November 16, 2004 -

On Big Story with John Gibson November 15, 2004, host John Gibson interviewed Col. David Hunt, one of the FOX stable of "Military Analysts." Hunt twisted himself into knots trying to justify the mess in Fallujah. His grim expression was all the testament one needed to see that Fallujah is one big SNAFU ("Situation Normal All F***d Up"). My post ends with yet another vile rant from John Gibson.

At 5:20 PM EST Greg Kelly delivered a report on the murder of the wounded Iraqi soldier by an American Marine in a Fallujah mosque. The accompanying videotape was mute. It did not have the audio track that I've heard on the other news channels.

Kelly quickly recapped the incident then switched to the American military's exculpatory arguments, i.e., American soldiers are faced with insurgent tricks, such as booby-trapping dead bodies or pretending to be dead then killing Americans with hidden weapons. He went on to note that "(t)he Naval Criminal Investigative Service (CSIS) is now spearheading the investigation. One officer in this building said they fear they could have another Abu Graib on their hands. ... no indication at this point that this is somehow a systemic problem inside the units operating in Fallujah. Only a handful of Marines are observed in the room and two in the immediate vicinity of the individual who was shot. Again, we don't actually see this wounded individual, this wounded insurgent, getting shot. That's where the video goes to black."

GIBSON: What is the next hot spot in Iraq?

HUNT: "I think it's gonna be Ramadi. I think also the largest hot spot in Iraq is going to be Sadr City. Two and a half million people inside of Baghdad. Fallujah, while everyone's claiming it's occupied, the country of Iraq is occupied and people are still shootin' at us. So occupying a city like Fallujah does not mean total victory. This all points to the elections in January. The next hot spots, I think, are Ramadi and Sadr City, and we have to go back up and clean up Mosul because the Iraqi police up there did not stand and fight."

He later said: "War is a very, very dangerous and terrible business and Greg Kelly also mentioned the reasons why this can happen, because Marines and Army guys have experienced the use of wounded combatants against us, either as IEDs or they're hiding weapons." [N.B. Kelly actually said that dead Iraqis were used as booby traps, not wounded Iraqis.]

Hunt also made the following statements:

"It's a guerrilla war."

"The Marines did a brilliant job in Fallujah."

"Fallujah was a symbol of the Sunni part of this insurgency."

"We had four great guys who were contractors who were killed."

"It also shows how well we can fight a guerrilla war when we're allowed to do it. The other places you mentioned have been taken and are having upticks. They're having some insurgency, some small terrorist activities that we'll go clean up. But Fallujah was an entire city of 300,000 people that was infested with terrorists."

GIBSON: "Certainly, the insurgents were outgunned and very foolish to take on the U.S. Marines and apparently a tremendous number have been killed, something like 1,200."

HUNT: "What you didn't see was how tired and how brave, amazingly brave - we had almost 300 guys wounded, about 38-40 guys, great Marines and Army guys killed."

HUNT: "About 1,200 terrorists were killed. What you also didn't see is a lot of civilians killed, because they were evacuated, which was a very, very good move. ... COmbat in a city - it doesn't get any worse than that and they did it brilliantly."

Gibson commented on Fallujah at the end of his show:

Time for "My Word." This is always the troublesome part of the show, because it's the time I get to run my mouth and say things that I think no matter how whacked they sound at first.

See these pictures from Fallujah? Virtually all the residents left before the fighting began and evidently about half the insurgents who had turned Fallujah into the insurgency capital of the world also sneaked out of town.

The Americans came and blasted the few insurgents who were left. Marine commanders estimate our guys killed 1,200. Since there was supposed to be 5,000 insurgents in Fallujah, that means about 3,800 got away, leaving their chump pals to die.

The smart ones are now launching attacks in Mosul and Baqouba and Ramadi and elsewhere. Fallujah - or parts of it - destroyed.

At first glance, you might think the Americans would rush in and clean it up and rebuild it so when the good people of Fallujah return, it will be all nice again. Things won't go that smoothly because the town is so shot up, it will take a while.

But I propose we actually don't rush in with armies of Home Depot reconstruction advisers. I propose we let Fallujah sit for a while. I propose we let the rest of Iraq take a good long look at Fallujah — a long look, a thoughtful look.

I propose we let Fallujah stand for something and that something is this is what happens if you let these terrorists take over your town and they bring the wrath of the U.S. military down on your town.

People in Mosul know who these guys are. Iraqis should be shooting these people as soon as they come to town. Any Iraqi can recognize a foreign fighter — why not shoot 'em on the spot?

The Iraqis aren't idiots. They've been waiting to see if the U.S. has the will to do what it takes to wipe out the insurgency. If the U.S. won't, they know they should side with the insurgent. Fallujah stands as a shot-to-pieces memorial to both the power of the U.S., but also the willingness of the U.S. to do what it takes.

Iraqis should have a little time to reflect upon the meaning of Fallujah before we clean the place up.

That's My Word.

COMMENT

In his report Greg Kelly claims that the video tape "goes black" just before the shooting. Other news media outlets state that they are deliberately halting the video because the actual murder is too disturbing for their viewers to see. Perhaps, in deference to the delicate sensibilities of the FOX personnel, NBC gave them an edited tape. Either that or FOX didn't want to let their viewers know that the tape actually contained the footage of the murder.

Iraq is manifesting what I call the Bastille Effect. The native Iraqi militia, under the command of foreigners (Americans) and a puppet government, refuse to kill their own.

From History of the Bastille:

"All of the planning had been done, all of the arrangements made, and all of the contingencies carefully thought out; everything was ready. As the morning of July 14th 1789 dawned, the mob gathered, heading for the thick, foreboding walls of the hated Bastille. Guarded by eighty-two aging veterans and reinforced by only thirty-two Swiss mercenaries, the besiegers, numbering near a thousand, felt that they could easily overwhelm the political prison. The defenders of the Bastille, not fearing the onslaught proposed by the attackers, spent the previous week repairing a long since damaged drawbridge, boarding windows, and reinforcing walls. They were not worried, expecting only a mob attack. However, three hundred French soldiers deserted their ranks to join in the attack. Had it not been for these soldiers, the Bastille would not have been taken. As it was, the besiegers quickly broke through the gates, and, despite the threat of 20,000 pounds of gun power igniting, destroying everything in the violent explosion, won the fortified prison."

The only Iraqis who support the Coalition at this point are the northern Kurds, whose agenda includes their own country. One wonders if deals have been made with these northerners?

As for Gibson's dispeptic diatribe, no comment needed.