Friday, April 16, 2004

The Impact of Fallujah

While the fighting in Fallujah is not likely over, the effects of the battle are already being assessed. One of the goals for the US in Iraq was to create a sense of national unity between Sunnis and Shias. Well, mission accomplished. The two factions are now united in their desire to shed American blood. Moreover, CSM reports, that the strong US response in Fallujah has changed Iraqi perceptions of the US occupation, and not for the better. There is an eye-witness account of the fighting in Fallujah running on, and while I'm not sure how far to trust its veracity (the writer tends to have a strongly leftist perspective), it presents a powerful explanation for the Iraqi reaction against US actions there. But then, even if this account is exaggerated against the US forces, is it likely to be any different than the manner in which these events will be reported on Al-Jazeera? As of now, the US effort to pacify Fallujah is the defining event of the occupation of Iraq, and I suspect it will be some months before we fully realize the impact that it has had. If the coalition does not come up with some effective damage control for this situation it will be to our everlasting regret.

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