Updated: 5/16/2006; 2:46:00 PM.

Current events
Post-9-11 events and analyses


daily link  Sunday, September 12, 2004


Key General Criticizes April Attack In Fallujah:  Another debacle from the chickenhawks:  "March 31 [marine general Conway] was confronted in Fallujah with the killing of four U.S. security contractors, whose bodies were mutilated or burned by a celebrating mob. Conway said he resisted calls for revenge, and instead advocated targeted operations and continued engagement with municipal leaders.

"We felt like we had a method that we wanted to apply to Fallujah: that we ought to probably let the situation settle before we appeared to be attacking out of revenge," he said in an interview with four journalists after the change-of-command ceremony. "Would our system have been better? Would we have been able to bring over the people of Fallujah with our methods? You'll never know that for sure, but at the time we certainly thought so."  He echoed an argument made by many Iraqi politicians and American analysts -- that the U.S. attack further radicalized a restive city, leading many residents to support the insurgents. "When we were told to attack Fallujah, I think we certainly increased the level of animosity that existed," Conway said.

He would not say where the order to attack originated, only that he received an order from his superior at the time, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the overall commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. Some senior U.S. officials in Iraq have said the command originated in the White House. "We follow our orders," Conway said. "We had our say, and we understood the rationale, and we saluted smartly, and we went about the attack."

The Marine assault on Fallujah in April ended abruptly after three days. Conway expressed displeasure at the order he received from Sanchez to cease offensive operations, a decision that culminated in the formation of the Fallujah Brigade.  "When you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand what the consequences of that are going to be and not perhaps vacillate in the middle of something like that," he said. "Once you commit, you got to stay committed." ..

Marine officials say they believe that threats, tribal ties and other influences led many of the soldiers to tacitly support the insurgents. The leaders of two National Guard battalions, which had been working with the Fallujah Brigade, were kidnapped. One was beheaded and the fate of the other is unknown. A video of the killing has circulated in Fallujah to dissuade people from working with security forces.

Eventually, the 800 AK-47 assault rifles, 27 pickup trucks and 50 radios the Marines gave the brigade wound up in the hands of the insurgents, according to Marine officers. Marines manning a checkpoint on the city's eastern fringe were shot at by gunmen wearing Fallujah Brigade uniforms."

  11:43:24 PM  permalink  

 
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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 2:46:00 PM.