[Marxism] Replying to David was: The U.S. defeat in Fallujah

g.maclennan at qut.edu.au g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Sat May 1 18:42:59 MDT 2004

From: David Walters 

"Hate to be a kill-joy here, but I don't agree. his "retreat" 
in no-way represents a "defeat" for the US. In the sense that 
they can't roam around Fallujah like tourists, sure, you can 
call it that. There is no question that from a military point 
of view, the US can obliterate Fallujah in about one hour. It 
can kill most or all of it's inhabitants and occupy the 
rubble. It was considered since despite the risings in other 
towns, Fallujah represents the heart of the uprising."

My comment: Hi David, If the retreat from Fallujah is not a 
military defeat what is it? You say it cannot be a military 
defeat, beacuse the Americans cannot be defeated militarily. 

Your reference here to the American capacity to totally 
destroy Fallujah and Iraq is only partially correct, 
however.  You could add to that their capacity to destroy the 
entire planet. But war to coin a cliche is just politics by 
another means.  The capacity to deploy fire power is always 
politically circumscribed in any actual context.  You 
mentioned some such as WW2, Korea and Vietnam, when a 
Fallujah type situation would have been resolved by rendering 
the city to ground zero.

But the politics of this war are totally different. The 
American military's room for manoeuvre is curtailed by 
factors such as the strength of the peace movement and the 
impact on the Arab world of the invasion. 

So they could not obliterate Fallujah.  That left them with 
the military option of storming the city.  They tried this 
and they failed.  Their casualties would have been horrific 
if they had pressed on. At the end of three weeks they were 
still on the outskirts of the city.  Moreover they had 
revealed the old weakness of the American Army.  Impressive 
fire power -yes.  Actually fighting capacity on the ground - 
poor. That was the verdict of the Chinese High Command after 
Korea, and all the events of the past three weeks have backed 
it up.

Now most of the above I think you would agree with, or 
perhaps even claim you said as much in your post, David.  But 
what of the political scenario?  I think it is fair to 
summarise you as saying that they have put in the quislings 
and if they do not do the job required the marines will be 

However this misses the point that this is the third lot of 
quislings.  The Chalabi forces have been sent packing. 
Brahimi’s quisling meritocrats may not even get a chance to 
strut their stuff.  Which of course means that the entire neo-
con strategy is in tatters.  Their dream was of a neo-
liberal “democracy” in Iraq, which would be a close ally of 
Israel and would be a rich source of glittering jewels for 
American corporations.  That is all over now.  What we are 
witnessing is the scramble to keep the ship from sinking.  

It is not a question of the Marines saying ‘Hey you do the 
job here in Fallujah or else we will be back to kick ass.’ 

Of course they have said that in public.  But in private they 
add, “Please, for god’s sake”.  No one now knows what will 
happen.  But I think it would be worth revisiting some of the 
predictions from the right wing Arab leaders.  They warned 
that the war would open the “gates of hell” and the whole 
region would burn.  That prediction was laughed at after the 
seemingly swift victory and the capitulation of the Saddam 
regime. But these have become the blows that strengthen the 
backs of the Arabs and do not break them.  We now have a 
resistance army, which has real accomplishments behind it and 
is growing in confidence.  We should note here the criticism 
from inside the mujahadeen of the deal that Iraqi politicians 
worked out with the marines.

Events of the last few weeks – such as the attack by 
Jordanian police on American police, and the killings of 
foreigners in Saudi Arabia – are showing, arguably, that the 
gates of hell scenario is a very real possibility.  I think 
the Americans are beginning to believe that as well.  Hence 
the return of the Republican Guard!

So to sum up a military defeat in Fallujah – yes, and yes 
A political defeat? Yes but even more than that there is the 
very real possibility of an epochal defeat for imperialism

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