Sunday, May 02, 2004

A Nice Place To Visit...

Today's Post is reporting that the Marines in Fallujah have completed transferring responsibility for the city to a group of militiamen loyal to Jassim Mohammed Saleh, a former general in Saddam's army. Apparently, the top Marine commander in Iraq, James T. Conway, is treating it like a success.

He told reporters that the new Iraqi force, which he authorized in an effort to quell insurgent activity, "marked the formation of a military partnership that has the potential to bring a lasting, durable climate of peace and stability."

I may be wrong, but this couldn't be what Conway had in mind when he said "military partnership."

"We won," said one of the militiamen, a former soldier who gave his name only as Abu Abdullah, meaning the father of Abdullah. "We didn't want the Americans to enter the city and we succeeded."

Put aside the fact that the militia considers the pullout a victory over America, and this still has disaster written all over it. Despite this claim from Conway, "They understand our view that these people must be killed or captured," there is no sign that the militia intends to confront the various elements who have spent the better part of April trying to kill US forces. They may understand our view, but they do not plan to follow it.

Inside Fallujah, however, members of the new force -- who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they said they were under orders not to talk to reporters -- expressed more desire to negotiate with the foreign fighters than to battle them.

In fact, a colonel in the new militia told the Post he expects many of the foreign fighters to leave Fallujah and "conduct operations" in other parts of Iraq. Therefore, essentially, all that the US has accomplished in Fallujah is to break the problem into smaller pieces and disperse it throughout the country.

The article would be funny if it wasn't so disturbing. It reads like a "he said/she said," with Conway claiming one thing, only to have someone from the militia completely contradict it.