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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Operation Matador

WIIIAI reads the media reports about Operation Matador, the Marines' recent bomb-fest in western Iraq, and concludes that it was basically a demonstration--any insurgents wanting to live to fight another day were apparently given plenty of opportunity to do so.
The idea behind Operation Matador was that this distant part of western Iraq was the new Fallujah, a gathering point for insurgents, so there was a need, according to the colonel in charge of the operation, for “proving that they don’t have any safe havens.” Note the verb: Matador is about proving something rather than accomplishing something. The Marines went to the Ramana region to pee on it to mark their territory; the goal was psychological rather than strictly military. And the proof of this is that, while the military claims to have “neutralized this sanctuary,” they’re not actually planning to occupy the area, and are now in the process of leaving; the insurgents will be back in days. The Marines are claiming victory, but the jihadis are probably claiming the same thing, with at least as much justification.