The calm in Fallujah
“You're probably safer here than you are in New York City,” said Marine First Lieutenant Barry Edwards when I arrived in Fallujah. I raised my eyebrows at him skeptically. “How many people got shot at last night in New York City?” he said.There is much more including several pictures of the city and the people. Totten is an independent reporter who courageously goes where many reporters will not. He is definitely worth reading.
“Probably somebody,” I said.
“Yeah, probably somebody did,” he said. “Somewhere.”
Nobody was shot last night in Fallujah. No American has been shot anywhere in Fallujah since the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment rotated into the city two months ago. There have been no rocket or mortar attacks since the summer. Not a single of the 3/5 Marines has even been wounded.
“The only shots we've fired since we got here are warning shots,” said Lieutenant J.C. Davis. Another officer didn't agree. “We haven't even fired warning shots,” he said. “It's too dangerous.”
It's dangerous because anti-American sentiment still exists in the city, even though it is mostly passive right now. It isn't entirely passive, however. Someone has been taking pot shots at Americans. A few days ago somebody threw a hand grenade at Marines. Two weeks ago an insurgent was caught by Iraqi Police officers while planting an IED near the main station. He freaked out, accidentally connected the wires, and blew himself up. “That's what he gets,” Private Gauniel said.
Even so, almost all patrols in the city are routine and uneventful affairs.
None of the Marines I've spoken to are nervous while walking the streets. “Complacency kills” is the new catchphrase in Fallujah, and it's drummed into the heads of the Americans here every day. The Marines may not have yet won the war in this city, but it sure is starting to look like it. The insurgency in Fallujah is over.