2004-10-24

Die Schlacht um Falludscha -- Pleiten und Pannen aus US-Sicht

--- Die LA Times stellte heute in einem langen Report die Fehler zusammen, die bei der seit April als Reaktion auf die Hinrichtung von Söldern laufenden Schlacht um Falludscha aus US-Perspektive gemacht wurden. Die Bush-Regierung kommt dabei ein weiteres Mal gar nicht gut weg: Just as they had previously, U.S. policymakers underestimated the hostility in Fallouja toward the American military occupation of their land. The U.S. assault on the city had the unintended effect of fanning the Sunni Muslim insurgency, precisely the outcome the United States wanted to avoid. U.S. officials ignored the risk that American military tactics and inevitable civilian casualties would undermine support for the occupation from allies in Iraq and around the world. Although military and civilian authorities eventually agreed on the Fallouja assault, their consensus quickly broke down, leading to hasty and improvised decisions. The insurgency in Fallouja was never going to be easy to quash, but disarray among American policymakers contributed to U.S. failure. This account is based on interviews with more than 40 key figures, many of whom refused to be identified because they still hold military or government jobs. The troubles began with Bush's authorization to attack Fallouja, based on the sole option Rumsfeld and Abizaid gave him. After the president ordered the Marines to advance, they battled their way into the city against heavy resistance. Four days later, with Fallouja only half-taken, they were abruptly ordered to stop. The problem was not military but political: Members of the Iraqi Governing Council were threatening to resign, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair and United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had appealed to Washington to halt the offensive. Before pulling out of Fallouja, the Marines hurriedly assembled a local force called the Fallouja Brigade, which they said would keep the insurgents in check. It proved an utter failure. Many of the men who enlisted turned out to be insurgents. But it took nearly five months for the Marines and the new Iraqi government to disband the brigade. In the meantime, under the brigade's watch, Fallouja became a haven for anti-American guerrillas, a base for suicide bombers, and a headquarters for the man U.S. officials consider the most dangerous terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab Zarqawi.

Ansonsten heute auch noch lesenswert: Die SZ zieht ein Resümee der Außenpolitik Bushs nach dem 11. September und die New York Times berichtet zum einen über den Wandel des amerikanischen Militärrechts hin zu einer immer stärkeren Duldung von Folter im Rahmen des "Kriegs gegen den Terror" sowie zum anderen über die versteckten ökonomischen Kosten des Irak-Kriegs.