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Clark: Winning in Fallujah Is Just the Beginning

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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:17 AM
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Clark: Winning in Fallujah Is Just the Beginning
The Real Battle
Winning in Fallujah Is Just the Beginning

By Wesley K. Clark
Sunday, November 14, 2004; Page B01


But in what sense is this "winning?"


During the recent presidential campaign, there was a lot of talk about supporting our troops in wartime. And yet calling what's going on in Iraq "war" has distracted us from marshaling the diplomatic and political support our troops need to win.


And then there's the matter of the political struggle inside Iraq. If, despite a high level of chaos, the elections do take place, the Bush administration must be prepared to accept and empower an Iraqi government and a nascent political process with sufficient independence to win support from the populace and undercut anger at the American troops. For most of a year, the effort at political transformation was been submerged beneath the rubric of "reconstruction" and hindered by the attitude that "security must come first." Security and domestic Iraqi politics go hand in hand.

Which brings us back to some of the factors that made last week's battle of Fallujah inevitable: a series of circumstances and errors in 2003 -- an initial coalition occupying force too small to achieve dominance over a historically restive population, the lack of a skilled political corps to reorganize the local inhabitants, the proscription of Baathist participation in the early postwar recovery and the disbanding of the Iraqi military. Then there was the aborted April 2004 effort to subdue the city, in which an under-strength Marine assault was called off by the White House. A silly plan of turning the city back over to a thrown-together Iraqi force left the enemy in control of the battlefield and turned Fallujah into even more of an insurgent stronghold.

This insurgency has continued to grow, despite U.S. military effectiveness on the ground. While Saddam Hussein's security forces may have always had a plan to resist the occupation, it was the failure of American policymakers to gain political legitimacy that enabled the insurgency to grow. And while the failure may have begun with the inability to impose order after Saddam's ouster, it was the lack of a political coterie and the tools of political development -- such as the Vietnam program of Civil Operations-Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) -- that seems to have enabled the insurgency to take root amid the U.S. presence. These are the sorts of mistakes the United States must avoid in the future, otherwise the battle of Fallujah may end up being nothing more than the "taking down" of an insurgent stronghold -- a battlefield success on the road to strategic failure.


We should be under no illusions: This is not so much a war as it is an effort to birth a nation. It is past time for the administration to undertake diplomatic efforts in the region and political efforts inside Iraq that are worthy of the risks and burdens born by our men and women in uniform. No one knows better than they do: You cannot win in Iraq simply by killing the opponent. Much as we honor our troops and pray for their well-being, if diplomacy fails, their sacrifices and even their successes in Fallujah won't be enough.
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:21 AM
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1. Kick.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:37 AM
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2. sigh -- what can one say...
the irrational has trumped the rational.
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flordehinojos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:49 AM
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3. how can you "birth a nation" when so many of the people there want to be
left alone to give birth to the nation that they want, not the one that the United States wants to birth and own for them?!
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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:20 AM
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5. Read the whole article nt
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 08:05 AM
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4. I suppose the entire rational based on lie after lie after lie
from Bush and Powell and the others,to invade Iraq will go down the memory hole.

The most egregious form of pulling the wool over the people's eyes, resulting in tens of thousands of innocent deaths,a great deal of them children, is now off the page and no where to be found. It is business as usual and no one seems to care to reflect upon that murderous slaughter based on lies. It is sooo passe to bring it up now. It is accepted that we own Iraq because we have the great military power, because bush says so, because he is decisive,because he is the war president, and because, simply, we could.

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