One of my doc’s sons is serving in Fallujah right now, and he confirms all of this sort of news as written by Michael Fumento:
“The city is slowly rebuilding and returning to life. Some report that it’s now the safest city in the Sunni Triangle due to the heavy presence of Iraqi police and army. Every major intersection now has unarmed Iraqi police directing traffic in crisp short-sleeve button down shirts, white gloves, black flack vests, and dark blue pants. More frequently we’re responding to IEDs [improvised explosive devices] reported by local children, police and informants.
“The 10pm-5am curfew is still in effect. But people can be seen on the streets up until the last minutes before 10. The streets remain unlit at night although there are green neon lights around the minarets of the major mosques. Lines at the gas stations can be over a hundred cars long. Ironic since we are in the heart of oil country.”
A reason for this, which the media rarely report, is that the Iraqi government subsidizes gasoline so that it’s virtually free. Sell tickets to a pro football games for five cents apiece and see what kind of line you get. The subsidies also encourage smugglers, who can buy dirt cheap and sell exorbitantly high. Chen continues:
“On the main strip, restaurants and electronics shops are open for business. I have seen some sit down diner-type restaurants and others where people line up for food at teller-like windows. There is still a great deal of trash on the streets by Western standards but noticeably less than when we first arrived. Many people are moving back into the city and buildings are in various stages of repair. There are more vehicles on the streets; many are BMW’s and Mercedes.”
Sez Fumento: No, Fallujah doesn’t rival Jamaica as a vacation resort. But last year at this time it was the epicenter of Iraq terrorism, filled with decapitators and bomb-makers. If progress can be made there, it can be made anywhere in Iraq. Don’t listen to the “quagmire” crowd. This war is being won.