The battle to retake the Iraqi city of Fallujah has begun: 20,000 Iraqi soldiers, backed by US air power and advisers, are attempting to expel some 800 to 1,000 ISIS fighters.So the good news is that we have become very skilled at retaking Fallujah and are likely to succeed once again. The bad news is that also that we have become very skilled at retaking Fallujah.
This is now the third time since 2003 that US and Iraqi forces have fought to retake Fallujah (building on an even longer British tradition of retaking Fallujah.) . . .
Yet the price of the battles of Fallujah has been very high for all involved. The second battle of Fallujah in 2004 was the bloodiest of the 2003 to 2011 Iraq War. The US lost nearly 100 soldiers there in retaking the city in 2004. The insurgents lost as many as 1,500.
The city has been reduced to rubble several times, and virtually all of the city’s occupants— about 350,000 people — have been forced to flee their homes over and over again. Many more people will die in the next battle, as ISIS defends the city fiercely and leaves behind a sea of booby-traps.
Still, the US and its allies have won all of their previous battles for Fallujah. And although the US will only be playing a supporting role this time around, it should be successful as well. The US military is an incredibly effective learning organization and every time it retakes the city of Fallujah, it gets better at it.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The Nth Battle of Fallujah