The headlines coming from US media seem to indicate that our military is getting ready to declare "Mission Accomplished" in Falujah. Well, I'm not there with them, but sometimes a longer perspective appears called for in determining whether success can actually be claimed.
25 years ago I lived outside of Washington, D.C. in Old Town, Alexandria, VA. Prior to that I had lived for 5 years in Lexington, Kentucky. Both places where I lived had roaches. You wouldn't see them if you were actively roaming around the kitchen, but early in the morning or late at night, if you turned on the light to go in, there they would be, scurrying under cupboards and refrigerators, hiding out. I'd fumigate for them frequently, but they would just move to other parts of the apartment buildings and come back a week or two later, no worse for wear.
And that's what I think is going on in Fallujah. Our forces (which according to 7 retired generals in the current issue of rolling stone magazine, are way undermanned: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/_/id/6593163?pageid=rs.Home&pageregion=single7 ) cannot wipe out the roaches in Iraq because they lack the ability to cordon them off and round them up. As I write this, the very last of them are no doubt scurrying to Mosul, or Baghdad or a hundred other places where they can hide out before their next unmanned bomb or sniper attack on our forces. Those civilians unlucky enough to have been trapped in Fallujah (and make no mistake, the US forces violated international law by refusing to let civilians leave prior to the offensive's start this past week) provided probably the majority of the casualties. The blog site Baghdad Burning ( http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/) has news of this as does an article in Scotland's press. http://www.sundayherald.com/46056 They make for horrific reading.
We have not stomped out the roaches in Iraq. We have only created more.