Yet another gonzo post over at BAGnewsNotes. This is one of two that is whining about the enormous damage done to Fallujah during the assault (why, some of the soldiers actually slept on people’s beds with their boots on!). Of course, this view can be sustained only with massive historical ignorance.
Why do I keep reading that weblog? Well, I like to read something other than the correct side of the blogosphere and Andrew Sullivan has succumbed to Bush Derangement Syndrome. Michael, the guy who runs BNN, does seem to have a good eye for details and interesting connections. His problem is much more than he applies it to only one side. I think he’d do well to try that eye on the propaganda from his side as well.
Anyway, here’s my response, which I spent too much effort on to not post here as well.
Yet another pile of anti-American propaganda masquerading as “analysis”.
What does analysis do? One thing is provide context. For instance, one might compare the damage in Fallujah to other instances of the USA military taking cities, like, say Aachen in WWII. Alternatively, one might have looked at other recent urban battles involving local rebellions such as Grozny or Hama. Hama’s a particularly interesting and relevant case, although I doubt you’ve heard of it. It’s an excellent antidote for Middle Eastern complaints about the unprecedented brutality of the USA.
If historical context wasn’t a good idea, perhaps some data allowing an estimate of the relative damage. So 200 buildings were destroyed. Is this out of 201? 2,000? 2,000,000?
There’s also the exploration of plausible alternatives (which is precisely what my analysis here is doing). For instance, what alternatives existed to an assualt on Fallujah? Surrender? Allowing the continued existence of an enemy armed camp that was a supply and rally point for much of the violence in Iraq?
But of course no “analysis” here would be complete without gratuitious yet ridiculous shots at the Bush administration. If the strategy was to create parking lots and “just break stuff”, why didn’t we just send in the B-52s and do so? Or do like we did to Tokyo and kill over 100,000 people in a single night by burning them to death? Or use artillery from outside the city? If the goal were parking lots, they’d already be parking lots.
In fact, the USA took casualties and spent enormous efforts to minimize the damage, precisely as described in the military manual entries you cite, which you’d realize if you spent any time analyzing instead of digging for anti-Bush factoids.
The damage in Fallujah, compared to other similar actions (see above) was remarkably light. It will go down in military history books as a historical victory, a turning point in the history of warfare. I actually like the analogies to the Tet Offensive, because of course that marked the end of the Viet Cong. The indigenous Communist forces in South Vietnam were never again a significant factor. But that military action was spun by pundits in to a defeat, exactly the same way you are working on Fallujah.
Now there would be a good piece of media analysis for you. Why didn’t the NY Times nor you provide any of the context I mentioned above? Why no comparative figures, only descriptions of damage? Surely, if the goal were to enable readers to understand the situation, some sort of yardstick would be essential. Yet none is provided. Laziness, stupidity or deliberate misdirection? Analyze that.
P.S. Perhaps I’m judging the NY Times too harshly, and it’s just a form of lamentation rather than the kind of ahistorical contextless “analysis” your post is.