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Dispatches from Fallujah

The Green Side posts e-mails from a Marine just outside Fallujah who’s girding up to go in. It’s compelling reading, and I’ll be stopping by frequently while following the coming battle in the news.
An excerpt:

Once again, we are being asked by citizens who have fled the city to go in and take the city back. They are willing for us to literally rubble the place in order to kill the terrorists within. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many inside the town that support the terrorists and we cannot expect to be thanked publicly if we do take the city. There is a sense of de ja vu with the refugees telling us where their houses are and asking us to bomb them because the muj have taken them over. We heard the same thing in April only to end up letting the people down. Some no doubt have paid with their lives. The “good” people who may ultimately buy into a peaceful and prosperous Iraq are again asking us to do what we know must be done.
The Marines understand and are eager to get on with it. The only lingering fear in them is that we will be ordered to stop again. I don’t know if this is going to happen but if it happens soon, I will write you when its over,

For more background info on the coming battle and on Fallujah and the surrounding area, follow the links below.

Please pray for our Marines and soldiers about to go into battle, for their Iraqi comrades in arms, and for the good people of Fallujah. May the battle be swift, decisive, and final … and God willing, we’ll win.

UPDATE (11/7, 3:00 AM): An Iraqi Army captain deserted his post and fled, one day after receiving a full briefing on the Fallujah assault plan.
UPDATE (3:20 AM): Negotiations between the interim Iraqi government and the terrorists in Fallujah have broken down. As Marine artillery and aircraft pound the town, terrorists throughout Anbar Province have launched suicide attacks to relieve pressure on Fallujah. Meanwhile, our Marines blow off pre-assault steam with improvised chariot races, Ben Hur-style (photos here).
UPDATE (3:30 AM): The British government is backing the strike on Fallujah. The hardy Scotsmen of The Black Watch have recently moved up from Basra in the south to cover the Marines going in with the assault.
UPDATE (2:00 PM): The pressure’s been building since this morning’s very early updates. Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi has declared a 60-day state of emergency (meaning martial law) throughout the country. Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler also delivered his pre-battle speech to the troops of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent compared the coming battle to Iwo Jima and Korea. Meanwhile, the terrorists in Fallujah have invited western journalists to embed. Anybody that takes them up on the offer is a world-class fool.
UPDATE (8:45 PM): The battle has begun.