December 23, 2004
It was November 14, 2004, well over a month ago that Lieutenant General John Sattler, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, proclaimed, "We have liberated the city of Fallujah." He went on to crow that he had "Broken the back" of the resistance in Iraq. Well, three of your Marines died today shooting it out with a band of insurgents in Fallujah. Today also marked the return of the first Fallujah residents to inspect the piles of rubble that had once been their homes or places of business or worship. Less than a thousand of the city's several hundred thousand former residents were allowed back in, and it was reported that they were not allowed to stay overnight because it was too dangerous for civilians to remain in the city due to air strikes on strong points used by the rebels to attack our forces (broken backs notwithstanding). Then too there was a pretty well planned and executed attack on a chow hall up in Mosul that killed 22 of ours while they were having lunch in a supposedly secure area. If the Vietnam experience taught us anything, it was that there are no secure areas in an insurgency environment when a significant portion of the population is sympathetic to the insurgents. We have grown accustomed to a constant stream of BS and disinformation from the White House and the Pentagon about the war (there is precious little they have been right about), but we did expect better from a commander on the ground with stars on his collar.
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