Meanwhile, back in the war........
Sun Aug 13, 2006 at 07:37:31 PM PDT
One day the vaunted Iraqi security forces that we are training to stand up so we can stand down were more than 2,000 strong in Fallujah.
The next day -- poof! Gone with the wind. Hasta la vista baby!
This is from the Los Angeles Times. Sorry, it's not online yet:
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Hundreds of newly recruited police officers in Fallujah failed to show up for work Sunday after insurgents disseminated pamphlets threatening officers who stayed on the job, according to police officials in the restive western Iraq city.
"We will kill all the policemen infidels," read the pamphlets, "whether or not they quit or are still in their jobs."
Fallujah Police Lt. Mohammed Alwan said that the force, which he estimated had increased to more than 2,000, has now shrunk to only 100. Alwan said that insurgents have killed dozens of policemen in their homes and also attacked family members in a weeks-long intimidation campaign.
A Fallujah police major, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to a fear of reprisals, said that at least 1,400 policemen had left their jobs since Friday, 400 of them police officials above the rank of officer.
Here's the Fallujah Police Department at the grand opening of its new HQ in April:
Do you suppose any of these guys are still on the job?
Just last week al-Qaida in Iraq vowed to take the city back:
Al-Qaida in Iraq has pledged to take back the volatile western city of Fallujah, declaring that it has united local armed factions into a cohesive force to fight the US and Iraqi troops who now control its streets.
The insurgent group's proclamations in mosques and schools came as US military commanders in Washington testified before the Senate armed services committee that Iraq's sectarian violence, if not stopped, could push the country into civil war.
Apparently, that task will now be easier since Fallujah has no more police. No word on whether Capt. Hamid is still on duty:
Capt. Rasheed Hamid of the Fallujah police told a Washington Post special correspondent that, while armed groups have made similar threats in the past, this one "carries great and dangerous significance" because of the recent slayings. Al-Qaeda in Iraq asserted responsibility for killing two local religious leaders, Abdul Alim and Abdul Sattar al-Jumaili, who Hamid said had promoted reconciliation in the shattered city after the November 2004 assault.
Meanwhile, Gen. Peter Pace went to Fallujah Sunday to reassure the American troops there that the American people still support them:
FALLUJAH, Iraq - The top U.S. general dropped into this volatile city Sunday to hear what was on the minds of Marines doing battle daily with a resilient and deadly insurgency. Some of what he heard sounded like a sign of creeping doubt -- not about the Marines` mission but about the wider purpose it is supposed to be serving as the U.S. war death count tops 2,600.
"I think sometimes when you are out here at the tip of the spear, you wonder what`s going on back in the United States and do you all still have the support of your fellow citizens," Pace said. "The answer is, yes, you do."
Public support for the troops doesn`t extend to the Iraq war itself, however. More than half, 58 percent, said in a Newsweek poll out this weekend that the United States is losing ground in Iraq and opposition to the war has been growing.
How much more time, one Marine asked, should the Iraqi government be given to achieve the political unity necessary to stabilize the country?
But I'm thinking that before Iraq has political unity, it might be a good idea to have a police force that doesn't cut and run, so to speak.
Otherwise, we are likely to see a repeat of the good ole days in Fallujah:
Seems like the boys are back in town
posted by Steve @ 12:16:00 AM