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What Do We Get From Falluja Attack?

The L.A. Times today says that it is “unlikely that the United States can establish the stability needed for credible elections in January even if its forces succeed in Falluja.” The good news is that no one who has watched the battle on TV can question the Marines’ and the Army’s courage, which was in question after they quit the attack on Falluja in April. The bad news is that it looks like it could be a Pyrrhic victory, because it will not help Iraq hold elections in January. There is a lot of talk about Falluja being a “ghost town.” If the missing residents don’t return, how can they vote? And if they don’t vote, what’s the point of this exercise? And if the rebellion just moves from Falluja to other towns, as it seemed to move to Mosul yesterday, what’s the point of that?

It looks as if it all boils down to the US not being willing to commit enough troops to Iraq to make the invasion really successful. The New York Times reports that the military had to pull about one-third of its forces out of Falluja to respond to the violence in Mosul. We defeated Saddam Hussein, but we have not turned Iraq into a functioning democratic state, because so far we have not been willing to commit the forces necessary to do so.

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