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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Declaring Victory and Leaving?
FALLUJAH, April 29--The U.S. Marines announced a new plan Thursday to replace U.S. forces in this embattled, mostly Sunni city with a small army of ex-Iraqi soldiers and commanders who would be charged with subduing insurgent activity and stabilizing the city. There was no sign of any new agreement with the insurgents who have been battling the Marines for three weeks, however. -- Washington Post

General consensus in the comments on Atrios is that this will be very demoralizing to the gung-ho Marines--basically abandoning their position. One would have to guess that the "small army of ex-Iraqi soldiers and commanders" will be "subduing insurgent activity and stabilizing the city" by disappearing into the city and joining with the insurgents. The city will be stabilized by effectively withdrawing from coalition control.

I don't want to be at all negative about this--it seems like the best option, given the multitude of screwups over the past 13 months which led to the horrible standoff in Fallujah. I want the Bushies to fail in their mission of fully conquering Iraq, but I want them to succeed in protecting American lives (and by consequence many more Iraqi lives). Bugging out of Fallujah is the way to do that, and that's what this sounds like. The "small army" of Iraqis is simply a smokescreen for a surrender. But a surrender is what was needed, and it looks like this may be it. Hopefully they'll do the same in Najaf, and eventually in the rest of Iraq as well.