Falluja Needs a 'Phoenix Program'

The distressing news footage on our television sets this morning, of swarming Iraqis burning and mutilating Western civilian corpses on the streets of Falluja, are an indicator that Coalition forces have not dealt firmly enough with that hive of anti—American and anti—Western hatred.

 

Falluja has turned into a no—go area for Coalition forces, defeating the whole purpose of going into Iraq. We cannot just bypass a whole town in Iraq because it's a tough nut to crack. The war in Vietnam demonstrated the folly of ceding the enemy control over home base territory.

 

There should have been advance notice that assasination, and the celebration thereof, is not going to be tolerated. A couple of Apache helicopters then should have been dispatched over that wreckage as soon as Coalition forces were aware of what had happened, and should have annihilated the whole crowd of Iraqis jubilantly dancing in glorification of the deaths of more Westerners. 

 

Is that really as harsh as it sounds?

 

I don't think so. That macabre celebration by supposedly normal Iraqis is now too often what is witnessed after the killing of either Coalition forces or the civilian workers who have gone into Iraq to help that country get back on its feet.

 

The glorification of such murderous barbarity needs to be stopped, or else more and more Iraqis will feel that it's perfectly safe to show up after each similar occurrence, and drag more Western bodies through the streets. It's becoming the norm and if we don't prove to the Iraqis that we take very seriously the mutilation of our people, then it will get worse and the crowds bigger. 

 

It's all about respect, and unfortunately in places like Falluja, the Iraqis clearly have no respect for the Coalition. That situation needs to be reversed, and the only way that can happen is by violently terminating the next chanting mob that gathers around a massacre of Coalition personnel. This policy should be announced in advance, so that all Iraqis have fair notice of the boundaries of legitimate protest in the new Iraq. Celebration and mutilation of the victims of terror is simply not tolerated. Ignore this warning at your own peril.

 

I could not care less what the worldwide left have to say about winning hearts and minds.

 

This is not to say Iraq is like Vietnam, but as high—ranking North Vietnamese generals admitted after the war in Indochina, the CIA's Phoenix program in 1967 — which involved the assassination of Vietcong cadres — was the one US activity that really frightened the North's communist leadership, and was very successful in lowering VC activity in areas where the assassination and propaganda program was carried out.

 

Of course, the Phoenix program in Vietnam got abruptly cancelled because of the bad press it attracted. There are many veterans who will tell you that halting that successful campaign was one of the biggest mistakes during the Vietnam War.

 

Apocalypse Now may have only been a Hollywood film but Colonel Kurtz's whole ideology was bang on target. You cannot expect to win a war of high and lofty principles with an army of social workers.

 

In Iraq, after seeing those pictures today of the madness in Falluja, the Coalition has a major choice to make.

 

Either we deal properly with the portion of Iraqis who think that they can get away with murdering their own and Coalition personnel, or we might as well just pack our bags and leave. That's because we simply will not have the stomach for what will be necessary to tame Iraq and deliver real stability and democracy. The other side, of course, suffers from no such qualms.

 

The leftist media such as the BBC and CNN, already paint the Coalition forces as the bad guys, no matter how passively they behave. There is literally nothing to lose now except for all the hard work and blood, already sacrificed by the US, UK and their allies.

 

More importantly, there will be those in Iraq who will use the new policy as a pretext to protest against the 'inhumanity' or 'anti—Muslim' character of the Coalition forces. But such people will always find a pretext for their complaints, agitation, and terror. There is no compromise with them, and no reason to tolerate their violence.

 

Polling data clearly show that most Iraqis appreciate their liberation from the tyranny of Saddam. Their complaints these days have more to do with the lack of order and the continuing need for the occupation itself than with 'inhumanity' of the foreign troops. Iraqis know all too well what genuine inhumanity looks like.

 

Iraq is learning how to be democratic. One essential characteristic of democracy is public order, reinforced by a broad understanding of the limits of dissent. It is time to make those limits abundantly clear to those Iraqis who seek to destroy the achievements of the fall of Saddam.

 

The distressing news footage on our television sets this morning, of swarming Iraqis burning and mutilating Western civilian corpses on the streets of Falluja, are an indicator that Coalition forces have not dealt firmly enough with that hive of anti—American and anti—Western hatred.

 

Falluja has turned into a no—go area for Coalition forces, defeating the whole purpose of going into Iraq. We cannot just bypass a whole town in Iraq because it's a tough nut to crack. The war in Vietnam demonstrated the folly of ceding the enemy control over home base territory.

 

There should have been advance notice that assasination, and the celebration thereof, is not going to be tolerated. A couple of Apache helicopters then should have been dispatched over that wreckage as soon as Coalition forces were aware of what had happened, and should have annihilated the whole crowd of Iraqis jubilantly dancing in glorification of the deaths of more Westerners. 

 

Is that really as harsh as it sounds?

 

I don't think so. That macabre celebration by supposedly normal Iraqis is now too often what is witnessed after the killing of either Coalition forces or the civilian workers who have gone into Iraq to help that country get back on its feet.

 

The glorification of such murderous barbarity needs to be stopped, or else more and more Iraqis will feel that it's perfectly safe to show up after each similar occurrence, and drag more Western bodies through the streets. It's becoming the norm and if we don't prove to the Iraqis that we take very seriously the mutilation of our people, then it will get worse and the crowds bigger. 

 

It's all about respect, and unfortunately in places like Falluja, the Iraqis clearly have no respect for the Coalition. That situation needs to be reversed, and the only way that can happen is by violently terminating the next chanting mob that gathers around a massacre of Coalition personnel. This policy should be announced in advance, so that all Iraqis have fair notice of the boundaries of legitimate protest in the new Iraq. Celebration and mutilation of the victims of terror is simply not tolerated. Ignore this warning at your own peril.

 

I could not care less what the worldwide left have to say about winning hearts and minds.

 

This is not to say Iraq is like Vietnam, but as high—ranking North Vietnamese generals admitted after the war in Indochina, the CIA's Phoenix program in 1967 — which involved the assassination of Vietcong cadres — was the one US activity that really frightened the North's communist leadership, and was very successful in lowering VC activity in areas where the assassination and propaganda program was carried out.

 

Of course, the Phoenix program in Vietnam got abruptly cancelled because of the bad press it attracted. There are many veterans who will tell you that halting that successful campaign was one of the biggest mistakes during the Vietnam War.

 

Apocalypse Now may have only been a Hollywood film but Colonel Kurtz's whole ideology was bang on target. You cannot expect to win a war of high and lofty principles with an army of social workers.

 

In Iraq, after seeing those pictures today of the madness in Falluja, the Coalition has a major choice to make.

 

Either we deal properly with the portion of Iraqis who think that they can get away with murdering their own and Coalition personnel, or we might as well just pack our bags and leave. That's because we simply will not have the stomach for what will be necessary to tame Iraq and deliver real stability and democracy. The other side, of course, suffers from no such qualms.

 

The leftist media such as the BBC and CNN, already paint the Coalition forces as the bad guys, no matter how passively they behave. There is literally nothing to lose now except for all the hard work and blood, already sacrificed by the US, UK and their allies.

 

More importantly, there will be those in Iraq who will use the new policy as a pretext to protest against the 'inhumanity' or 'anti—Muslim' character of the Coalition forces. But such people will always find a pretext for their complaints, agitation, and terror. There is no compromise with them, and no reason to tolerate their violence.

 

Polling data clearly show that most Iraqis appreciate their liberation from the tyranny of Saddam. Their complaints these days have more to do with the lack of order and the continuing need for the occupation itself than with 'inhumanity' of the foreign troops. Iraqis know all too well what genuine inhumanity looks like.

 

Iraq is learning how to be democratic. One essential characteristic of democracy is public order, reinforced by a broad understanding of the limits of dissent. It is time to make those limits abundantly clear to those Iraqis who seek to destroy the achievements of the fall of Saddam.