Fallujah - early April 04 US strategy flip flopped by President Bush in the heated days after the 4 American Mercenaries/Private Contractors were murdered by a lynch mob in Fallujah. If the attached is true then it would appear the White House is getting more involved in military details than they should be
Bush's Bloody Flip-Flop
By Robert Parry
September 14, 2004
A flip-flop by George W. Bush worsened the military-political debacle in Fallujah last April when the Bush administration overruled the Marine commanding general twice, first ordering him to undertake a retaliatory assault against the rebellious Iraqi city and then abruptly reversing direction three days later.
Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway, who commanded U.S. forces in western Iraq, told reporters that he opposed the decision to attack Fallujah in April and then – after committing Marines to the battle – he objected to the follow-up order to cease offensive operations and pull back, a decision that effectively ceded the city to insurgents as a “no-go” zone for American troops.
“We follow our orders,” Conway said in the interview on Sept. 12 after relinquishing his command.
The order to attack Fallujah in early April followed tough talk in Washington about punishing those responsible for the gruesome deaths of four armed U.S. contractors whose vehicles were ambushed in Fallujah on March 31.
Senior U.S. officials in Iraq say the order overruling the Marine commander, who favored a more measured response, originated from Bush's White House, the Washington Post reported. Conway said he and other Marine officers had a more deliberative plan for bringing the city under control.
“We felt we had a method that we wanted to apply to Fallujah; that we ought to probably let the situation settle before we appeared to be attacking out of revenge,” Conway said in the interview. Conway said he favored using targeted operations against armed enemy forces while collaborating with local officials to rebuild the city and ease tensions.
Instead, Bush administration officials in Washington second-guessed the commander and demanded a full-scale assault on Fallujah. “We had our say, and we understood the rationale, and we saluted smartly, and we went about the attack,” Conway said.
The assault proved disastrous, however. Six Marines were killed along with hundreds of people in Fallujah, many of them civilians who died under a U.S. bombardment including 500-pound bombs dropped on the city and cannon fire that raked the city's streets. There were so many dead that the soccer field was turned into a mass grave.