"Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die."
--U2, Crumbs From Your Table, 2004
Human carcasses are being devoured by dogs in the streets of Falluja. Nearly every public building, mosque and school has been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Falluja residents are going to return from their temporary exile to find their city in ruins.
Did the costs of this military campaign outweight the benefits to the U.S. and Iraq? I suppose that question cannot yet be answered. However, it is clear that the costs are deadly high. To paraphrase the cliche, war truly is hell.
When I see this type of destruction to a city and the pain it causes its civilians, it leads me to believe that we are only helping the enemy in their efforts to recruit. I get the feeling that the vast majority of those returning to Falluja are unlikely to blame the insurgents, and will instead blame the U.S. There will be exceptions to this, but a new crop of enemy will have been created. We can't continue to win the peace through destruction. We can't "kill 'em all", can we? We badly need the type of SysAdmin force that Tom Barnett preaches. We need to win the war of propaganda with the Iraq people (an aspect of the war that we are currently losing.) We can score military victories any time that we wish, but are those victories helping or hurting the overall goal?
Update: I ran across this article in the Asia Times regarding Falluja.
Then, I ran across this site, which has pictures from Falluja. They are heart wrenching, especially the pictures with children.