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History, Geography, & Military Discuss Falluja’s Fall Stuns Marines Who Fought There at the Political Forums; Adam Banotai was a 21-year-old sergeant and squad leader in the Marine Corps during the 2004 invasion of Falluja, a ...

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Old 01-10-2014, 09:26 AM
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Default Falluja’s Fall Stuns Marines Who Fought There

Quote:
Adam Banotai was a 21-year-old sergeant and squad leader in the Marine Corps during the 2004 invasion of Falluja, a restive insurgent-held city in Iraq. His unit — which had seven of 17 men wounded by shrapnel or bullets in the first days of the invasion — seized control of the government center early in the campaign.

So when Sunni insurgents, some with allegiances to Al Qaeda, retook the city this month and raised their black insurgent flag over buildings where he and his men fought, he was transfixed, disbelieving and appalled.

“I texted a couple of friends,” said Mr. Banotai, now a firefighter and registered nurse in Pennsylvania. “Everyone was in disbelief.”

“I don’t think anyone had the grand illusion that Falluja or Ramadi was going to turn into Disneyland, but none of us thought it was going to fall back to a jihadist insurgency,” he said. “It made me sick to my stomach to have that thrown in our face, everything we fought for so blatantly taken away.”

Quote:
For many veterans of that battle — most now working in jobs long removed from combat — watching insurgents running roughshod through the streets they once fought to secure, often in brutal close-quarters combat, has shaken their faith in what their mission achieved.

Some now blame President Obama for not pushing harder to keep some troops in Iraq to maintain the stability. Others express anger at George W. Bush for getting them into a war that they now view as dubious in purpose and even more doubtful in its accomplishments. But either way, the fall of the city to insurgents has set off within the tight-knit community of active and former Marines a wrenching reassessment of a battle that in many ways defined their role in the war.
Quote:
“The news went viral in the worst way,” he said. “This has been a gut punch to the morale of the Marine Corps and painful for a lot of families who are saying, ‘I thought my son died for a reason.’ ”
Quote:
Yet even among older officers who seem less surprised by the turn of events, Mr. Sparks said, “It hurts to think that it isn’t as important to Americans as it was to us while it was happening.”

He likens Falluja to Khe Sanh, the bloody 1968 battle where Americans triumphed only to abandon the base months later, though he did not disagree with the 2011 troop pullout and does not believe that American troops should be sent back in.

“This makes the analogy complete,” he said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/us..._20140110&_r=0

This is sad and disgusting.
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