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View Diary: Mercenaries, war, and my childhood (368 comments)

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  •  Fallujah's recent history (none)
    I'm sorry, I thought this was common knowledge, or I would've posted earlier. This is my understanding of Fallujah's recent history:

    A year ago, our uniformed troops shot and killed around a dozen unarmed Iraqi protesters in Fallujah. The mob was angry, our troops were scared, and they opened fire. It's an old, sad story. Even worse, less than 48 hours later, there was another demonstration and another shooting which left several more Iraqis dead.

    The resulting outrage persuaded the Army to withdraw most of its troops, hoping that a less visible U.S. presence would incite less violence. However, predictably, the Fallujah police were not capable of maintaining order, and the city sank into lawless gangsterism. Our subsequent efforts in Fallujah have been aimed more at keeping its evils from spreading outward than at imposing real order.

    There is no grand conspiracy theory needed to explain why security contractors were employed in Fallujah instead of regular troops. We were afraid of killing more innocent people and sparking a firestorm. The Army has other reasons for employing such contractors elsewhere, and maybe none of those reasons are good, but there is a specific reason why there is no American military order in Fallujah. We haven't had real control there for a long time. What we had was a Marine security cordon, and that was no help to anyone inside the city.

    And yes, the Army was stupid. Now more innocent people have died, a firestorm looms on the horizon, and it's easy to see that. But again, I implore everyone: Blame our generals. Blame the guys who thought it was possible to dodge the hard fights and the real dangers. (Although, after two 'incidents' and over a dozen dead protesters, would you have left the Army in control of things? There's no black, there's no white.)

    Regardless of Fallujah's past or the mistakes made, there is no intelligent reason to blame the victims of the murderous fanatics in Fallujah for their own deaths, or dishonor their memory with absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing.

    But if we keep it up, it'll sure make great fodder for Rush.

    (Sigh... third post after I promised I'd shut up. I'm going to have to put another quarter in the Didn't Shut Up jar now.)

    •  Fallujah's recent history - Continued (none)
      As I understand, these were contractors who were going somewhere, but ran into a roadblock on the route they had planned, so they tried an alternative that turned out to be fatal.

      Part of the problem is that the Army unit that had been there for the last year was replaced a week earlier by a Marine Corps unit. They decided to change to tactics used to control Fallujan. Hence, the road block the contract guys hadn't expected.

      Essentially this seems to me to have been one of those many "seams" between different units in combat. Getting off the planned route is what happened to the guys from the 507th Maintenance Company with Jessica Lynch a year ago.

      •  Interesting (none)
        Sounds like you have a better understanding of the situation than me. Thanks for sharing some actual information, this thread can use it!

        This, an article from last Saturday, describes the Marines' efforts to pacify Fallujah after the Army left town. It's not a city under control, it's a war zone, and my impression is that it's been pretty lawless since long before the Army's final pullout.

        •  More on Fallujah (none)

          After posting what I did earlier, I read the following articles in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Here are the URLs and the first paragraph of each article. It adds a lot of information.

          Fort Worth Star Telegram #1

          3 former military men among those killed in Fallujah By Connie Mabin

          The Associated Press WILLOUGHBY, Ohio - Two Army veterans and a former Navy SEAL were among four American contractors killed in Fallujah, Iraq, their bodies mutilated and dragged through the streets.

          Family members and a spokesperson said Thursday that Jerko "Jerry" Zovko, 32, Michael Teague, 38, and Scott Helvenston, 38, died with another civilian Wednesday after they were hit by rocket-propelled grenades in a rebel ambush. The victims worked for Blackwater Security Consulting, one of five subsidiaries of North Carolina-based Blackwater USA.

          Fort Worth Star Telegram #2

          Fallujah quiet after attack that killed contractors Thursday, April 1, 2004

          By CAROL ROSENBERG / Knight Ridder Newspapers The kebab cafes were bustling Thursday. So was the bakery, which had only half-shuttered during the fiery attack the day before that left four American security consultants dead and their corpses burned and mutilated.

          Fort Worth Star Telegram #3

          Posted on Fri, Apr. 02, 2004

          4 slain were commandos hired by U.S. government By Dana Priest and Mary Pat Flaherty The Washington Post

          The four men brutally slain Wednesday in Fallujah were among the most elite commandos working in Iraq to guard employees of U.S. corporations and were hired by the U.S. government to protect bureaucrats, soldiers and intelligence officers.

          The men, all employees of Blackwater Security Consulting, were in the dangerous Sunni Triangle area operating under more hazardous conditions -- unarmored cars with no apparent backup -- than the U.S. military or the CIA permit.

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