The U.S. military is engaged in delicate negotiations inside Sadr City to clear the way for a gradual push in coming weeks by more American and Iraqi forces into the volatile Shiite enclave of more than 2 million people, one of the most daunting challenges of the campaign to stabilize Baghdad.
So sensitive is the problem of the sprawling slum -- heavily controlled by militiamen loyal to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr -- that Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, personally approves all targets for raids inside the Baghdad district, military officers said.
[. . .]
If political avenues are exhausted, the U.S. military has formulated other options, including plans for a wholesale clearing operation in Sadr City that would require a much larger force, but commanders stress that this is a last resort.
"A second Fallujah plan exists, but we don't want to execute it," a military officer in Baghdad said, referring to the U.S. military offensive in November 2004 to retake the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah in Iraq's western Anbar province. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters.
The above, noted by Martha, is from Ann Scott Tyson's "Edging Their Way Into Sadr City" (Washington Post). "A second Fallujah plan exists" should be the thing that stands out.
For some it won't because they aren't even aware what was done to Falluja. It was leveled and the US military is willing to do the same with Sadr City because what does it matter if civilians live there? Aren't they worthy targgets?
Well no, it's a war crime. If they did implement such a plan, it would be interesting to see how it played out this time. Would a new Dexy be given an award for playing clean up? Would Americans, better informed this time, strongly object and call out the lies of embeds? Are we smart enough this time not to buy into "It's full of bad guys, they're all bad guys!"
Or the lies that innocents were allowed to leave? (Males were turned back when attempting to leave, even young boys.)
As a people, have we learned anything in nearly three years? (Falluja was first attacked in April 2004, Bully Boy held off until after the elections to destroy an entire city -- November 2004).
That even an anonymice can float the option suggests that the military doesn't think the American people are any wiser.
David S. Cloud covers Sunday's violence in the New York Times. The only thing I'm seeing is that the deaths from the truck bombing in Ramadi have risen to 11.
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ann scott tyson
the new york times
david s. cloud