Theodore's World: How Marines Pulled Fallujah Out Of Hell

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August 28, 2007

How Marines Pulled Fallujah Out Of Hell

2nd Lt. Nick DeLonga, 1st Platoon, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines

How Marines Pulled Fallujah Out Of Hell

August 27, 2007
NY Post ....for complete article


Fallujah and the Marines have some history. In 2004, one savage battle ended when the Marines were pulled out for political reasons. Later that year, they had to finish the job.

And they did. They took down the terrorists' stronghold in a week of fury.

With a fundamentalist tradition, Fallujah seemed to fit al Qaeda perfectly. Robbed of their Saddam-era privileges and out for revenge, even secular locals had aligned with the terrorists. Despite the Marine victory, violence simmered on.

The extremists and insurgents believed they could wear America down. But between 2004 and 2007, two things happened: We wore them down - and al Qaeda wore them out.

With foreign fanatics butchering the innocent and enforcing prison-yard "Islamic laws" that far exceeded the Koran's demands, it belatedly dawned on the insurgents that, while we intended to leave eventually - on our own terms - al Qaeda meant to stay.

A wave of suicide bombings earlier this year, culminating in a massive attack on a funeral procession, made the population snap. The people of Fallujah may never love us, but they hate al Qaeda with the rage of a betrayed lover.

Since May, the change has been stunning. When the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines were last in Fallujah, in 2006, they took casualties from snipers and roadside bombs. The city was violent, bankrupt and partly in ruins.

Now the battalion's back. And welcome. Marines banter with the locals where, six months ago, it was risky to ride in an armored vehicle.

Paradoxically, the violence of the past set the only possible conditions for the sudden reconciliation. The Iraqis had to grasp that we meant business. Now the 1st Platoon of the battalion's Fox Company lives and works in the Hadari Precinct with the Iraqi police.

The new police are recruited from vetted locals, and the policy has paid huge dividends. The locals know who doesn't fit, and they've got an immediate interest in their neighborhood's safety. Most encouragingly, the reformed police are popular.

Fallujah still isn't a place to buy retirement property, but it was encouraging to sit down with 1st Platoon's commander, 2nd Lt. Nick DeLonga, and his Iraqi counterpart, 1st Lt. Mohammed.

We went for a stroll in the streets. The Marines still wear full combat gear: Despite security measures, a sniper might still sneak into the city. But there was no threat from the locals in the market. The worst mood the Marines encountered was aloofness. More often, they were welcomed with a polite greeting.

People are relieved that their streets are safe again. And the kids are out in regiments, surrounding the Marines in hope of candy or just a bit of attention.

"Crash," is a Basra-born interpreter (a "terp") who, more than anything else in the world, wants to become a U.S. Marine. He lives and works with the Marines, studies their rituals, works out with them - and carries himself like a Marine. Crash also carries a weapon for self-defense - a right he earned after pulling wounded Marines to safety in combat.

"His" Marines are doing all they can to help him enlist.

And the locals are out in front of us in the fight against al Qaeda. Which is a big thing.

In a "swarm," identification cards are provided to all, beginning with the local movers and shakers. Volunteers are vetted to join the police or armed neighborhood-watch groups. And revitalization programs go into gear.

Capt. Mason Harlow, the Fox Company commander, was wounded by shrapnel two years ago. In Fallujah. Now he's back, overseeing the Hadari District and two others. His Marines haven't been attacked for months. And his former enemies are doing his work for him.

Capt. Harlow didn't think he'd live to see the day.

Wild Thing's comment........

The lefties must truly hate stories like this. In your face Dems, and God bless our Marines and also Army Task Force 2-2 Infantry and Task Force 2-7 that fought in Fallujah.

Posted by Wild Thing at August 28, 2007 12:40 AM


God Bless the Marines!
OO-Rah and Semper Fi, Devil Dogs!
With love from a Devil Pup.
Keep up the good work--We LOVE You and
Support you!

Posted by: Lynn at August 28, 2007 08:20 AM

Lynn I am smiling so big, they are just so awesome.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 29, 2007 12:27 AM