WaPo reports that a full scale invasion of Fallujah was set aside in favor of a diplomatic track, which includes joint U.S.-Iraq patrols of Fallujah. Note that the military leaders are already suggesting that these joint patrols may not cut it. It is certain that the Marines will be fired upon. I understand the desire not to enrage the Arab world, and I also understand that the Coaltion took a PR beating in the last round of fighting, but I also do not believe that joint patrols are going solve the problem. What it will do is change the nature of the engagement from offensive to (at least perceptually) defensive. This may permit the Coaltion to make progress without spurring on more attacks and fighters elsewhere, but in the short term it will cost Marines their lives on the ground.
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