Thursday, November 25, 2004


Rope-A-Dope In Fallujah

The recent US sweep of Fallujah appears to have been perfectly timed. Almost too much so, to the point where I stop and say "hmm" whenever I think about it. Consider the following:

"The amount of weapons was in no way just to protect a city," said Maj. Jim West, a Marine intelligence officer. "There was enough to mount an insurgency across the country."

A huge store of weapons and explosives was discovered at the mosque of Abdullah al-Janabi, a Muslim cleric and insurgent leader, according to a report on The New York Times' Web site. Al-Janabi is thought to have fled the city.

The Times said the mosque compound in a residential area had sheds stacked with TNT, mortar shells, bombs, guns, rocket-propelled grenades and ammunition. A naval mine was in the street outside, it added.

Marines clearing houses in Fallujah have found Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, artillery shells and heavy-caliber cannon - with weapons caches often marked by a brick hanging by a string on homes' outside walls.

West said U.S. forces turned up a "cook book" with instructions on using mercury nitrate and silver nitrate and descriptions of nerve agents. He didn't elaborate.

Huge weapons capability was found. It included not just enough stock of existing weapons to start a revolution (I choose my words caqrefully here), but also the capability to build chemical weapons of even greater destructive force; WMDs by any other name, though I will eschew the term for now solely because it distracts from the point of this post.
There were weapons factories, too, going far beyond the usual blow-em-up devices...
In Fallujah, Iraqi forces uncovered a lab in the southwestern district of the city, where pockets of insurgents are still holding out following the assault.

"We also found in the laboratory manuals and instructions spelling out procedures for making explosives," Dawoud said. "They also spoke about making anthrax."

Dawoud showed pictures of a shelf containing what he said were various chemicals.
The results are that the Sunnis are coming back onside with elections:
The Party of Islam of Iraq (Sunni Party) after having announced that it will boycott the elections has changed its decision and now will participate in the elections. [hat tip: Powerline]
Now, the above is obviously excellent news, but I have to wonder:
  • The scale of the operations - huge weapons caches, often hidden right in the mosques that the people use - means that, to anyone living there, it was an open secret what was going on.

  • Many outlets have reported that the people of Fallujah suffered greatly under the terrorist thugs. No surprise there, but these same people hated the thugs as a result and wanted them gone. One must presume that at least a few were cooperating with the Coalition.

  • Then, wham!, at the very last moment, the Coalition sends in the troops, scoops up the weapons, smashes the infrastructure, and leaves the terrorists no time to regroup before the election. Even the Sunni opposition sees this and will now - quelle surprise! - support elections rather than be frozen out.
If I didn't know better, I'd swear the entire operation didn't "just happen." It now looks a lot more like a deliberate rope-a-dope, letting the enemy get overconfident and concentrate its efforts ineffectually, in this case in a single city, where the Coalition could then take it out with a single blow.

Was Fallujah left alone till the end specifically for this purpose? It sure seems that way.

Because, as Branch Rickey put it, luck is the residue of design. So my question then becomes: how long ago was this planned? From here, it now looks like it was laid out almost from the get-go. I'd blame Karl Rove, but really, he has to sleep sometime.