We were amused by this report of the absolute idyll that reigns in Fallujah, penned by AP scribe Mark Fitz. To balance out the reports of ambushes and pissed off Iraqis, AP evidently decided to show the good side of the American occupation. What, a little massacre here and there?
Here's Fitz putting Fallujah in news context:
"Fallujah is perhaps the most extreme example of hyperbole run amok. This city of 300,000, about a 30-minute drive west of Baghdad, is one of the corners of the so-called "Sunni triangle," a sector that has seen sporadic attacks that have killed four of the 50 Americans killed since major combat ended in April.
Saddam is a Sunni Muslim, and it's easy to see other Sunnis as fighting a last-ditch battle to prevent the Americans from allowing the majority Shiites to overrun them. But in fact, many tribes of Sunnis, particularly the more devout, have long opposed Saddam's socialist, secular Baath party.
Fallujah gained notoriety when troops from the 82nd Airborne Division fired on protesters on April 28 and April 30. Twenty Iraqis were killed."
The hyperbole, of course, is that the town is in any way anti-American. Why, according to Fitz, there isn't even any anti-American grafitti in town:
"Fallujah today has none of the anti-American graffiti found in southern cities dominated by fundamentalist Shiites. Produce and meat markets are open well into the night, and some shops are filled with tires and plastic chairs already being imported from China."
We wondered about the wonders of Fallujah. For instance, in a previous story in the Wash Post -- just the other day -- the reporters seem to have found some grafitti:
"In the streets of Fallujah, slogans scrawled in recent weeks have been covered with white paint. But some remain. "God bless the holy fighters of the city of mosque," reads one. "Fallujah will remain a symbol of jihad and resistance," proclaims another."
But Fitz finds nothing odd in the fact that there's no grafitti about a recent massacre of protestors. Hmm. Sell that man a bridge.
In fact, in the WP story of a couple of days ago, the gentle and prosperous people of Fallujah seemed to agree about one thing: the need for the Americans to find an exit story.
But Fitz's story interested us more because of its Rumsfeld like rhetoric. It has now become a Rumsfeldian cliche to say that Iraq is California sized. Apparently, when planning on having 30,000 American troops do the post-hostility occupation of the country, and dissing suggestions that it would take more than one hundred thousand troops, Iraq was Rhode Island sized. But now, it just keeps growing and growing, with more and more hidey holes for WMD and Saddam and lord knows what. Here's Fitz:
"U.S. service personnel are continually perplexed by the distraught letters and emails from their families, who read or hear about a veritable hunting season on U.S. troops when the casualties - considering the magnitude of invading, pacifying and rebuilding a California-sized country - pale in comparison to any other American war of such magnitude."
This was obviously coming. The second stage, when the criticisms of the common GI leak back to the Homeland, is to wrap the patriotic GI around the disgruntled grunt's neck.