It may be happening as I write this, but retaliation for “Wednesday ambush in Fallujah”:http://www.back-to-iraq.com/archives/000724.php, which left four private employees of Blakwater dead, burned and mutilated, appears to be imminent.
On the outskirts of the city last night, battalions from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force geared for a battle, setting up checkpoints and camps in preparation for their eventual return to the hostile city. As they braced against one of the season’s first blistering sandstorms, several Marines said they were rearing to avenge Wednesday’s killings.
“I’ve got a lot of hate inside me, but I try to put that aside,” said Sgt. Eric Nordwig, 29, of Riverside, Calif., a veteran of the battle to topple Saddam Hussein. “We just sit and take it and be mortared.” The time has come to “clean up the town,” he said.
Fallujahis lived an “uneasy calm” today, and the city’s clerics denounced the horrific mutilations of Wednesday (but not the killings.)
“Islam does not condone the mutilation of the bodies of the dead,” Sheik Fawzi Nameq said, according to the Associated Press. “Why do you want to bring destruction to our city? Why do you want to bring humiliation to the faithful? My brothers, wisdom is required here.”
Some Iraqis were distressed over what happened, with Samir Shakir Mahmoud, a Sunni businessman from Western Iraq saying: “It represented the worst in savage behavior … neither Islamic, nor Arab, nor related to any of the values of this region… It does not represent me and it does not represent Iraq. It represents the worst that the previous regime created in Iraq.”
He’s right. In my travels in Iraq, I never encountered that level of hate. “Even in Tikrit”:http://www.back-to-iraq.com/archives/000365.php, before the Marines had it fully secured, the Arab fighters we met never threatened us. Yes, I was heatedly warned us against bringing any Kurds into their city, but after a fiery denunciation of Jalal Talabani, the general-secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — and now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council — the man I was speaking with, Adil Ahmed, shook my hand warmly and welcomed me to Tikrit. He knew I was an American, but that didn’t matter. Hospitality was his watchword, even in war.
Fallujah is a different story, and it’s about to get worse. I detect a bit of war-porn going on from the right, I think. Many of the posters on the FreeRepublic.com and Little Green Footballs have a sweaty-palmed, heavy breathing aspect to their calls for blood, almost as if they can’t _wait_ for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force to turn Fallujah into a parking lot. Bam! Show ’em who’s boss! Pow! Hama time! But remember: Where they make a wasteland, they call it peace. (Tacitus).