December 05, 2004

Bringing freedom to Fallujah.

Now that the US military is in control of Fallujah, it's having to deal with the question of how to get the 300,000 residents of Fallujah back home in time to participate in the January national elections. According to the Boston Globe, the military's plans have a definite draconian edge. In the words of reporter Anne Barnard, '[R]eturning residents may find that the measures make Fallujah look more like a police state than the democracy they have been promised.'

Under the plans, troops would funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans. Residents would receive badges displaying their home addresses that they must wear at all times. Buses would ferry them into the city, where cars, the deadliest tool of suicide bombers, would be banned. [...]

One idea that has stirred debate among Marine officers would require all men to work, for pay, in military-style battalions. Depending on their skills, they would be assigned jobs in construction, waterworks, or rubble-clearing platoons.

"You have to say, 'Here are the rules,' and you are firm and fair. That radiates stability," said Lieutenant Colonel Dave Bellon, intelligence officer for the First Regimental Combat Team, the Marine regiment that took the western half of Fallujah during the US assault and expects to be based downtown for some time.

Bellon asserted that previous attempts to win trust from Iraqis suspicious of US intentions had telegraphed weakness by asking, " 'What are your needs? What are your emotional needs?' All this Oprah [stuff]," he said. "They want to figure out who the dominant tribe is and say, 'I'm with you.' We need to be the benevolent, dominant tribe.

We found this part of the article particularly interesting:

US commanders and Iraqi leaders have declared their intention to make Fallujah a "model city," where they can maintain the security that has eluded them elsewhere. [...]

To accomplish those goals, they think they will have to use coercive measures allowed under martial law imposed last month by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

"It's the Iraqi interim government that's coming up with all these ideas," Major General Richard Natonski, who commanded the Fallujah assault and oversees its reconstruction, said of the plans for identity badges and work brigades. [Emphasis added]

Can we say 'passing the buck'? Obviously the prez isn't the only person in the US government who refuses to take responsibility for the conduct of the war in Iraq.

Via Boston Globe.

Posted by Magpie at December 5, 2004 01:51 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |

er...magpie...just on little question...what homes in falluja?


Posted by: bruce in oz at December 5, 2004 05:08 AM

Yeah, this plan will sure go over well with the Iraqi people. The love that will flow for the U.S. should be overwhelming! Oh, and if this is the idea of the Iraqi government, it only proves that we replaced Saddam Hussein with, er, Saddam Hussein with a different name.

Posted by: Scott at December 5, 2004 05:39 AM

[M]ake Falluja a model city...

I'll bet this will go over real big with the rest of Iraq. Sort of like the earlier goals of making Iraq a free market utopia. That certainly went over well, didn't it?

Posted by: Mary at December 5, 2004 12:25 PM