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Published:January 8th, 2014 09:40 EST
Developments in Fallujah, Requires Us to Revisit the Two Battles There in 2004!

Developments in Fallujah, Requires Us to Revisit the Two Battles There in 2004!

By John G. Kays

Understanding what`s happening in Fallujah today, has required of me, revisiting the two battles there in 2004, involving US Marines. As I made my snail-like commute from work on the Mopac yesterday, I listened to a very attention-grabbing piece on NPR about some Marines reflecting back on the achievements of the campaign from 2004, as well as some bitterness about the situation today, where al-Qaida has reoccupied Fallujah. This inspired me to do some further research (on current events and on its history, which is a little over nine years old now), once I returned home.

Well, the first thing I had to do, and I don`t mean to get too trivial here, is to load new HP 61 XL black and color cartridges into my printer (the office supply stores are asking nearly $50 for a twin pack these days!), since I prefer to print out articles and read them in bed, rather than reading them on a hypnotizing computer monitor. The other reason for that, is I can then create a paper file and accumulate more records, should I decide to revisit this story (if it turns into one). I concluded this morning, Fallujah`s the hottest topic in the news right now and I found some great pieces worthy of printing out!

First off, I had to get that NPR story (Fallujah Veterans Ask Hard Questions About Their Sacrifices, by Quil Lawrence) I heard on the radio, and was glad to discover that NPR has written word transcriptions of their radio stories. I don`t have a photographic memory, in fact I`m getting a little old, so I can benefit immensely by seeing it in a printed format. One item that`s kind of funny, is I still wonder how you should spell al-Qaida? I mean some news services spell it al-Qaida, while others spell it al-Qaeda; I`ve been going with the former spelling as of late.

Another really superb article I dug up, worthy of printing out on a paper copy, was in The Washington Post, but actually was an Associated Press piece, Reversals in hard-won Iraqi city vex veterans, which inspired me to return to the history. Returning to the history of these two battles is mandatory for me, since my recall of those events is a bit fuzzy (at this point). And then I was glad to hear (when reading the same article) that a Historian, Richard Lowry, has written a book, New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah, which I`d like to take a look at. 

It`s funny how our memories can play tricks on us; I had remembered Fallujah as getting characterized as a bust, but now it`s looking like it was a the only real victory of The Iraq War. That may be, but I haven`t had a chance to really study its history yet; comparisons to the Battle of Hue City, Vietnam (1968) are also making the rounds. I know its history somewhat better than Fallujah`s, but that was only after I buckled down and studied that campaign. It has been 45 years since then, so we`ve had quite a bit more time to let its history settle and crystalize.

This morning I read over the usual Wikipedia entries for the two Anbar Province campaigns from 2004, and also found some archival news videos on YouTube. One that is still shocking, is the original NBC coverage of the Blackwater contractors, who were ambushed by Iraqi insurgents (March 31, 2004), then dragged through the streets, and finally hung up on a bridge that crosses the Euphrates River. This is the trigger, I do believe, for the US campaigns in Fallujah. 

Another item I found, which made me question what I thought I knew about Fallujah, is a 2005 documentary, Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre, produced by two Italians, Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta. My first impression, is this film is rather slanted to the left, but I`ll need to look into it further, especially emphasizing the issue of these White Phosphorus incendiary bombs, employed by Marines. What happened in Fallujah? I`d still like to know.