A couple of comments have been posted, and more have been emailed to me suggesting what the proper response should be to Fallujah. I did not go into detail in my article yesterday, but suggested that "[t]hose who commit violent acts must be dealt with in the most serious manner. . . . . Failing to respond to the violence therefore would invite still more violence, not less." The difficulty for most people who saw the horrific images is to fight the inclination to make Fallujah one big glass parking lot. I am convinced that a strong response should be made (and will be made), but we should limit collateral damage to the extent that we can. Note that I did not say that there should be no collateral damage--we do not live in wonderland, and even with our technology, war brings unfortunate consequences. But in what is a tribal society, there is no need to create more enemies by targeting those who are not causing the problem. Sometimes this weakens what would otherwise be a more dramatic response, but I will give you one example of why prudence is necessary here. When the missiles were fired at the Al Rasheed Hotel a few weeks ago, we did not hear an immediate missile response. You see, the United States has the technology to track where a missile has been fired from, and to launch a devestating counter strike that will often hit the launch site before the enemy missile hits its target. But in an urban setting, sending a barrage capable of clearing one square acre of space is not necessarily prudent. Indeed in this case, the terrorist had placed the truck and launcher near a hotel, undoubtedly hoping that the U.S. would respond with heavy firepower and would be blamed for killing civilians.
What is the moral of this story: Our response should be decisive and should serve as an example, but it should be calculated to do the maximum damage to those most deserving. I have every confidence that the Marines will be up to this task.