Alawi has called for a hard press on the militias holed up in Falluja. It's going to be ugly.
From what I've heard of the Iraqi people, they have been exceptionally responsive to the kind of iron fists they grew up with. With Alawi calling the shots and Iraqi army in joint ops, the citizens seem to be much more prepared for the ugliness of battle. Still, it must be with a heavy heart that Alawi sends in the marines.
One of the things I recall from the news over the months is that very few people in Iraq know how to read maps, and very few of the houses in the various towns and cities have anything resembling what we call addresses. So even when we have infiltrated militias with informants, it's not possible to call a mortar strike. Such precision does not exist among the villagers. So it will be inevitable that ordinary people will be mowed down, accidently.
Falluja will not be cleansed, it will be thrashed. And it has come to this. I haven't made a secret that I was opposed to the first war on Iraq - in fact, I still have a 'No Blood For Oil' sign in my closet. At the time, I was swayed by the notion that American police and soldiers would not perform well, and might ultimately balk at the politics that drove them to fight. I'm certain I used the words 'the US military has been turned into a mercenary army for the sake of an undemocratic regime' or some such notion to announce my questions about the worthiness of Kuwait as an ally. Today, I am much less likely to believe that either soldiers or cops have the luxury of second-guessing the politics that drive the rules of their engagements. They are middle class people doing their jobs, just like the rest of us. We all know the politics suck - all politics not under your direct control suck. And so like it or not, American soldiers at the behest of Alawi will go hard and hot into Falluja and start wrecking things. Real soldiering.
I though to myself what would I do in such a situation. I certainly wouldn't want to leave my hometown simply because some asshat militia is holed up maybe 3 miles away in a part of town I don't frequent. But a militia on the run might be anywhere. I'm a red man in a blue state, a black family surrounded by non-blacks. There might be a Baptist next door to me. I don't know. Yes I've been to a Baptist Church, but I'm not one of them. Really. Well, I know my wife is a Baptist but she's not one of the bad ones. Really. Could I keep the occupying soliders out of my neighborhood? Could I keep the militamen out of my neighborhood? No. If my city were declared a target what could I do?
I could leave. I'd bet most Fallujans cannot. I'd bet they'd better try. There has been plenty water under the bridge where bodies were burned. Falluja knows its reputation. Falluja knows what's coming. The city will fall to the troops at Alawi's request and it's going to be ugly. But we know that.