FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fallujah: the Hue of Iraq

 

It’s amazing how history gets twisted or forgotten.

As the Marines prepare for the brutal fight to capture Fallujah, we read in the Associated Press that Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, the top enlisted Marine in Iraq, has told his massed troops that they are fighting a battle like the one Marines and soldiers fought to recapture Hue, the ancient imperial capital of Vietnam, overrun and captured by the Viet Cong in the Tet Offensive of 1968.

One should certainly hope, for the sake of Marines and the Iraqi people of Fallujah, that Sgt. Maj. Kent is wrong.

Hue was a colossal disaster for the U.S. The retaking of that once beautiful city not only produced some of the highest casualties of the war for the U.S., it also led to the slaughter of thousands of innocent Vietnamese civilians–including many women and children.

It was also the beginning of the end for the US war in Vietnam. Once the American public realized that the Viet Cong had the power to capture one of Vietnam’s largest cities, and that they were actually welcomed by the people when they did so, it was the turning point in terms of public support for the war effort at home.

After that it was all downhill, though it took years for the bloodshed to end.

Unfortunately, Kent may be right in drawing this parallel, though certainly not in the way he intends.

No doubt, the U.S. military will recapture Fallujah–most likely because the bulk of the insurgents will, as in the case of Hue, simply melt away.

Already, the Sunni clerics have told the people of Iraq that they are bound to help the insurgents to escape, and reports suggest that most of them already have done so.

The popular masses of Iraq are rooting for the insurgents.

The U.S. will use the most brutal power at its disposal, as it is already doing–2000 lb. bombs, helicopter gunships and larger turboprop gunships, and massive bombardments by tanks and howitzers.

Most of the city will be leveled.

Already, we read that the U.S. military has attacked hospitals, indeed invaded hospitals. Ambulances are targeted deliberately. Can the mosques be far behind?

In the end, the U.S. will be universally reviled even as it captures the pile of rubble that will be what is left of the City of Mosques.

And what will be gained by this battle the Bush administration cynically postponed until after Election Day (not having the courage to let the electorate see the casualties it would inevitably cause)?

Very little, if anything.

The insurgency will still survive, most of its fighters already having left the city, leaving a martyr contingent willing to stay and fight to the death, inflicting as many casualties on American troops as they can.

The American army will have further alienated itself from Iraqis–those few who may still have wished the occupation well. The government of Ayad Allawi will be further compromised, seen as the puppet regime it is for endorsing an attack that is totally unnecessary, even as offers were being made to resolve the conflict peacefully.

It is as though the insurgents had read Ho Chi Minh’s brilliant playbook, and were working through the chapters, while the Pentagon and Donald Rumsfeld are stuck with General Westmoreland’s stupid plan.

No wonder American troops are holding revival meetings, getting baptized and anointed with holy oil. Led by martinets who do the bidding of a craven regime, they have nowhere else to turn for solace and protection.

Those who die will have achieved nothing.

Those who survive will have little to celebrate.

As Secretary Colin Powell and many of the generals have already said, this war is being lost. As with the battle to recapture Hue, it’s just a delay of the inevitable.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

August 21, 2018
Anthony DiMaggio
Fascist Nation: The “Alt-Right” Menace Persists, Despite Setbacks
Chris Floyd
Dial “N” for Mayhem: Wording Our Way to a New Level of Hell
Creston Davis
The Education Impasse in the USA
Jonathan Cook
In Detaining Peter Beinart, Israel Has Declared it No Longer Represents Millions of Jews Overseas
Kshama Sawant
UPS Teamsters, We Have Your Back in this Fight
Kenneth Culton
Trump Supporters: the Joyous Cult Bound by Shared Story and Ritual
Andy Thayer
Why the Chicago ‘68 Convention Matters Today
Simone Chun
Sea of Tears: The Tragedy of Families Split by the Korean War
William Blum
The Russians Did It (cont.)
Manuel E. Yepe
How Capitalism Erodes Mental Health
Doug Noble
“Abolish ICE”? Then Why Not Abolish All US Militarism?
Thomas Mountain
Djibouti Faces Dark Days to Come; Eritrean Ports, Pipeline Threaten Ethiopian Trade Lifeline
Binoy Kampmark
Finding Fault and Faulty Infrastructure: Genoa’s Morandi Bridge Disaster
Kary Love
“Suffer Not the Little Children….”
Thomas Knapp
Omarosa Manigault Newman, Public Servant
August 20, 2018
Carl Boggs
The Road to Disaster?
James Munson
“Not With a Bomb, But a Whimper” … Then More Bombs.
Jonathan Cook
Corbyn’s Labour Party is Being Made to Fail –By Design
Robert Fisk
A US Trade War With Turkey Over a Pastor? Don’t Believe It
Howard Lisnoff
The Mass Media’s Outrage at Trump: Why the Surprise?
Faisal Khan
A British Muslim’s Perspective on the Burkha Debate
Andrew Kahn
Inhumanity Above the Clouds
Dan Glazebrook
Trump’s New Financial War on the Global South
George Wuerthner
Why the Gallatin Range Deserves Protection
Ted Rall
Is Trump a Brand-New Weird Existential Threat? No.
Sheldon Richman
For the Love of Reason
Susie Day
Why Pundits Scare Me
Dean Baker
Does France’s Economy Need to Be Renewed?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Mighty Voice for Peace Has Gone Silent: Uri Avnery, 1923-2018
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail