The Lesson of Fallujah

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Have you seen the pictures from Fallujah? (search) Virtually all of the residents left before the fighting began and evidently about half the insurgents who had turned Falluhah into the insurgency capital also sneaked out of town.

The Americans came and blasted the few insurgents who were left. Marine commanders estimate our guys killed 1200 insurgents. 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 (search) and Ramadi and elsewhere. Fallujah — or parts of it — is just destroyed.

At first glance, you might think the Americans would rush in and clean it up and rebuild it so when the good honest 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 look at Fallujah — a long, thoughtful look.

I propose we let Fallujah stand for something and that something is this is what happens if you let 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 them 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 insurgency. Fallujah stands as a shot to pieces memorial to both the power of the U.S., but the willingness of the U.S. to do what it takes.

Iraqis should have a little time to reflect before we clean the place up.

That's My Word.

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