While Reagan continues to command much of the media spotlight, blood continues to spill in Iraq, where dozens of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers were wounded and killed in car bombings on Tuesday. Maj. Dave Bellon, a U.S. Marine operating outside Fallujah who contributes to the military blog "The Green Side," offered an interesting assessment last week of the murky situation on the ground.
"As far as Falluja goes, we have not been allowed to get back in there with any real numbers yet. Initially, it was confounding. However, a very interesting dynamic has developed. Since we have stayed out of Falluja and focused elsewhere, the mujahadeen have had their run of the town. As they have had no one to fight, they have turned their criminal instincts on the citizens. The clerics who once were whipping these idiots into a suicidal frenzy are now having to issue Fatwas (holy decrees) admonishing the muj for extortion, rape, murder and kidnapping. It is unfortunate for the 'innocent people' of Falluja but the mujahadeen have betrayed themselves as the thugs that they are by brutalizing the civilians. There are, in fact, reports of rape, etc from inside the town.
"While the muj are thugging away inside the town, we are about 1/2 mile away paying claims, entering into dialogue and contracting jobs. The citizens come outside the city for work and money and are treated like human beings. They go back inside and enter a lawless hell. In short, the muj have done more to show the people what hypocrites they are in a few short weeks than we could have hoped for in a year. The result is more and more targetable intelligence. If we are given the green light, we can really go to town on these guys (no pun intended). However, as much as we would like to do just that, the optimal solution is to empower the Iraqis to take care of it themselves. That is precisely what we are doing."
Bellon's politic refrain is intriguing, given his belief that some enemy forces are indulging in hardcore narcotics before waging aggressive warfare against U.S. troops:
"Equally astounding is evidence that these 'holy warriors' are taking drugs to get high before attacks. It['s] true, as we pushed into the town in April many Marines came across drug paraphernalia (mostly heroin). Recently, we have gotten evidence of them using another drug BZ that makes them high and very aggressive. Cowards and hypocrites. They don't have the nerve to fight without calming their fear with drugs. Between highs, they are robbing people and raping young girls. Some jihad."