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Fallujah’s quiet, but is it pacified?

I recently complained about the apparent SNAFU in Fallujah. Now, Citizen Smash is saying we just won the battle for the hearts and minds of Fallujah’s citizens, because an Iraqi general we sent there to take over a 1,500-man Iraqi brigade stood up in a town meeting and defended our troops.

On Sunday, Marines of the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment provided security for the gathering in Kharma.
[Retired Maj. Gen. Mohammed] Abdul-Latif, 66, a native of Baghdad, urged the elders to talk freely, citing the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

“We can make them (Americans) use their rifles against us or we can make them build our country, it’s your choice,” Latif told a gathering of more than 40 sheiks, city council members and imams …

“Speak freely, Ali … and try not to stare at the nice men with guns.”
No disrespect to Smash, but it seems too early to claim victory.
I’m the furthest thing from an expert on counterinsurgency tactics, but couldn’t this just be a case of scared locals biting their tongues in the presence of a former Ba’athist general spouting off, while a cordon of Marines remains strung ’round the city?

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