"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Monday, December 06, 2004
US commanders and Iraqi leaders have declared their intention to make Fallujah a "model city," where they can maintain the security that has eluded them elsewhere. They also want to avoid a repeat -- on a smaller scale -- of what happened after the invasion of Iraq, when a quick US victory gave way to a disorganized reconstruction program thwarted by insurgent violence and intimidation.
A "model city?" Gee, that sounds good! You might even call it a "shining city on a hill," if only there was a hill. What's it going to take to create this "model city?" Maybe you don't really want to ask:
Under the plans, troops would funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans. Residents would receive badges displaying their home addresses that they must wear at all times. Buses would ferry them into the city, where cars, the deadliest tool of suicide bombers, would be banned....
One idea that has stirred debate among Marine officers would require all men to work, for pay, in military-style battalions. Depending on their skills, they would be assigned jobs in construction, waterworks, or rubble-clearing platoons.
"You have to say, 'Here are the rules,' and you are firm and fair. That radiates stability," said Lieutenant Colonel Dave Bellon, intelligence officer for the First Regimental Combat Team, the Marine regiment that took the western half of Fallujah during the US assault and expects to be based downtown for some time.
Bellon asserted that previous attempts to win trust from Iraqis suspicious of US intentions had telegraphed weakness by asking, " 'What are your needs? What are your emotional needs?' All this Oprah [stuff]," he said. "They want to figure out who the dominant tribe is and say, 'I'm with you.' We need to be the benevolent, dominant tribe.
"They're never going to like us," he added, echoing other Marine commanders who cautioned against raising hopes that Fallujans would warmly welcome troops when they return to ruined houses and rubble-strewn streets. The goal, Bellon said, is "mutual respect."
I get it - "mutual respect" means recognizing that we are "the benevolent, dominant tribe;" the Great White Father, as it were. Sounds like mutual respect to me!