The fall of Fallujah, the city the US fought so hard to free, has been a tough thing to witness for veterans and family members of those killed.
The soldiers that risked their lives fighting for the Anbar province strategic city are questioning what they were fighting for nearly 10 years ago, in 2004.
The battle for control of Fallujah was one of the most brutal combat operations for US Marines, who had to fight militants for days in street to street combat.
However, after all the blood, sweat, and tears, al-Qaeda flags once again fly over the city after sweeping attacks last week.
The fall of Fallujah is one of many examples of how the situation has deteriorated in Iraq two years after the US pulled out all its forces.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, This administration has decided Iraq is not important.” said David Bellavia, a retired Marine staff sergeant who earned the Silver Star for his role in the battle for Fallujah.
Several Republican lawmakers make the argument that the fall of Fallujah happened because President Barack Obama didn’t push hard enough to keep some US troops in Iraq.
Duncan Hunter, a veteran of Fallujah who served with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment says:
“I think the overwhelming feeling is anger. The administration let our victories count for nothing.”
The battle for Fallujah was a turning point in the Iraq War, one which helped ensure US control of Anbar province and the stabilization of the country.
Blogger James Joyner of Outside the Beltway writes:
“The people who attacked us on 9/11 now own the key battleground in a war we launched ostensibly in response. Aside from regime change itself, it’s not clear that we accomplished a single one of our objectives in that conflict. There was no nuclear program. The chemical weapons cache consisted of a few leftovers from the world wars. The Maliki government is corrupt and incompetent to provide basic security for the citizenry. And now al-Qaeda is running major outposts.”
Max Boot from the Wall Street Journal thinks the fall of Fallujah could mark the beginning of an al-Qaeda state that includes northern Syria and Western Iraq, or at the very least, he says, Iraq is heading toward a Syrian-style civil war.
“Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has no-one but himself to blame. If he had embraced the Sunni Awakening movement, Iraq likely would have remained relatively peaceful. Instead, the moment that US troops left Iraq, he immediately began victimizing prominent Sunnis.”
One in three American lives were lost fighting for Anbar province, and then there are the thousands of Iraqis killed during the bloody battles.
The fall of Fallujah is certainly creating opposing points of view of the situation as Fox News analyst KT McFarland says both President Bush — for getting the US in Iraq — and President Obama — for pulling out troops too soon — are to blame for the current situation.
Bivouac of the Dead By Theodore O’Hara
The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tatoo;
No more on Life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On fame’s eternal camping ground
Their silent tents to spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead