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January 3, 2008

Who Lost Fallujah?

According to the Washington Times, the military reviewed the loss of Fallujah to Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists in 2004 to determine how the US lost control of the city. The Marine Corps should have beaten the terrorists in a straight up fight, but the Pentagon believes that the enemy had a lot of help from a surprising source -- surprising for everyone except those who watched it happen in real time:

"The outcome of a purely military contest in Fallujah was always a foregone conclusion — coalition victory," read the assessment, prepared by analysts at the U.S. Army's National Ground Intelligence Center, or NGIC.

"But Fallujah was not simply a military action, it was a political and informational battle. ... The effects of media coverage, enemy information operations and the fragility of the political environment conspired to force a halt to U.S. military operations," concluded the assessment. ...

The authors said the press was "crucial to building political pressure to halt military operations," from the Iraqi government and the Coalition Provisional Authority, which resulted in a "unilateral cease-fire" by U.S. forces on April 9, after just five days of combat operations.

During the negotiations that followed, top Bush administration officials demanded a solution that would not require the Marines to retake the town, according to the assessment.

What happened? During the initial effort to retake Fallujah in April 2004 -- following the brutal murders of four Blackwater contractors -- Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya began broadcasting propaganda that Western media immediately repeated. The two Arab news services showed video of babies in hospitals and claimed the Marines had wounded these and killed more. Both channels made explicit comparisons to the Palestinians, and the American and European press ate it up.

The propaganda efforts worked. The Marines withdrew and the terrorists made Fallujah the center of their oppression over the people of western Iraq. It took months for the US to mount another offensive, this time with media embeds to counter the propaganda that the Western press seemed eager to indulge. In November 2004, the US finally cleared Fallujah, but not before losing a lot of credibility with the Iraqis who felt abandoned to the terrorists.

This is just a repeat of the Peter Arnett story. In the first Gulf War, Arnett famously repeated without any hint of skepticism the notion that the US bombed a baby-milk factory instead of a weapons factory. Years later, Eason Jordan would admit that CNN cooked its reporting to curry favor with Saddam Hussein, and would occasionally just read copy into the camera provided by the Saddam regime as though it was CNN's own. Rather than treat the Al-Jazeera propaganda with any skepticism at all, the Western media instead regurgitated it while insisting that American military sources could not be trusted to provide honest accounting of the fight.

We saw this at the time, and tried to point out the contradictions. It cost the lives of American Marines and soldiers, and it cost many more Iraqi lives. The media lost Fallujah, and had it not been for the determination of the Bush administration, they would have lost the entirety of Iraq to al-Qaeda terrorists as well.


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» Ou Press Working With Our Enemy= Loss Of Fallujah from Right Voices
According to the Washington Times, the U.S. press played a crutial role in the Marines loss of control in Fallujah back in 2004. What should have been a victory in a military fight, was anything but that: “The outcome of a purely military contes... [Read More]

» Losing Fallujah in 2004: Who’s to blame? from Sister Toldjah
The Washington Times/UPI reports on a “secret intelligence assessment” of the 2004 battle for Fallujah which suggests the reason for the loss was political pressure as a result of - you guessed it - media coverage: A secret intelligence ass... [Read More]

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