November 04, 2004

Fallujah: Revisted

This has been a long time coming. My prayers of safety, wisdom, a swift hand and thinking are with the Marines. Take it to 'em and be done and Godspeed.

Dear Dad -

As you have no doubt been watching, we have had our hands full around Fallujah. It would seem as if the final reckoning is coming. The city has been on a consistent down hill spiral since we were ordered out in April. It's siren call for extremists and criminals has only increased steadily and the instability and violence that radiates out of the town has expanded exponentially. If there is another city in the world that contains more terrorists, I would be surprised. From the last two years, I just don't see a way that we can succeed in Iraq without reducing this threat. The cost of continuing on without taking decisive action is too high to dwell on.

The enemy inside the town have come to fight and kill Americans. Nothing will sate their bloodlust and hatred other than to kill everyone of us or at least die trying. It is hard to fathom as a Westerner as rational thought would dictate that we will only be here for a relatively short blip in their history and while we are here, billions of dollars in investments will pour in and opportunity that is beyond comprehension will open up for anyone willing to work. This is not Kansas and this enemy does not think like that.

If we build a school or clinic, they destroy it. They would rather deny medical care or education for the children of the citizens who live nearby than to have any symbol of the West in general and America specifically among them. It is hard to comprehend. Frankly, we are done trying.

For eight months, we have been on our chain. The enemy has fooled itself misinterpreting our humanity and restraint for lack of will and courage. For eight months, we have watched Marines, Soldiers and Sailors maimed and killed by invisible cowards hiding behind some wall or in a canal as he detonates another IED. For eight months, we have been witness to suicidal sociopaths driving vehicles laden with explosives into crowds of Iraqis and into our own convoys.

Just last week, we lost another nine Marines killed and an equal number of wounded as the result of some ignorant extremists who was able to convince himself that killing himself and as many Americans as possible would send him to paradise where he could finally get his virgins.

Now, their own ignorance and arrogance will be their undoing. They believe that they can hold Fallujah. In fact, they have come from all over to be part of its glorious defense. I cannot describe the atmosphere that exists in the Regiment right now. Of course the men are nervous but I think they are more nervous that we will not be allowed to clean the rats nest out and instead will be forced to continue operating as is.

Its as if a window of opportunity has opened and everyone just wants to get on with it before it closes. The Marines know the enemy has massed and has temporarily decided to stay and fight. For the first time, the men feel as though we may be allowed to do what needs to be done. If the enemy wants to sit in his citadel and try to defend it against the Marine Corps and some very hard Soldiers... then the men want to execute before the enemy sobers up and flees.

It may come off as an exceptionally bellicose perspective but where the Marines live and operate is a war zone in the starkest reality. When the Marines leave the front gate on an operation or patrol, someone within direct line of sight of that gate is trying to kill them. All have lost friends and watched as the enemy hides within his sanctuary that has been allowed out of what one must assume is political necessity. The enemy has been given every advantage by our sense of morality and restraint and by a set of operational rules that we are constrained to operate under. The Marines feel like their time has come and we will finally be ordered to do what must be done and be given the latitude to do it. Even though the price will be high, there is not a man here that would chose status quo over paying the price.

Every day, the enemy takes more hostages, assassinates developing Iraqi leaders and savagely beats suspected collaborators. I will give you just one recent example that happened last week. One of our patrols was moving down a street when they saw what looked like a fight. The Marines closed with the scene. It was a family that had come to Iraq on religious pilgrimage that was taken hostage and was being taken into Fallujah. The muj stopped for some reason and the father began fighting. The Marines interdicted and captured two of the kidnappers. Two more ran and the Marines could not get a shot without fear of killing/wounding others.

Every day, insurgents from inside Fallujah drive out and wait for Iraqis that work on our bases. Once the Iraqis leave they are stopped. The lucky ones are savagely beaten. The unfortunate ones are killed. A family that had fled Fallujah in order to get away from the fighting recently tried to return. When they got to their home, they found it taken over by terrorists (very common). When the patriarch showed the muj his deed in order to prove that the house was his, they took the old man out into the street and beat him senseless in front of his family.

Summary executions are common. Think about that. Summary executions inside Fallujah happen with sobering frequency. We have been witness to the scene on a number of occasions. Three men are taken from the trunk of a car and are made to walk to a ditch where they are shot. Bodies are found in the Euphrates without heads washed downstream from Fallujah. To date we have been allowed to do nothing.

I have no idea the numbers of beheadings that have occurred in Fallujah since I have been here. I have no idea the number of hostages that have ended up in Fallujah since we have been here. I just don't know that Americans would be able to comprehend the number anyway. Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse. There is no hope for any type of reasoned solution with an enemy like this.

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,



Posted by Rae at November 4, 2004 06:26 PM | TrackBack


Posted by: Patrick at November 5, 2004 02:21 AM

As a former Marine, I am thinking and praying for the Marines out there. I hope they go in soon and take care of business. Thanks for this great post.

Semper Fidelis

Posted by: Daisy at November 6, 2004 07:11 AM

This is what the pacifists will never understand - that you can't make peace diplomatically with people who don't believe in diplomacy or peace (unless peace is defined as their dictatorship), and that sometimes violence is the only way to protect the innocent.

My prayers are with the soldiers, our leaders, and the civilians of Fallujah.

Posted by: Elisa at November 6, 2004 09:46 AM

Psalm 144:1 "A Psalm of David. Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight."

I hope to hear from Dave again soon.

Hugh McBryde

Posted by: Prakk at November 6, 2004 09:51 AM

I pray safety and victory for our troops. I pray they have the discernment and wisdom to fight effectively and swiftly, so that the guilty pay to the utmost, and the innocent (if there are any) are spared.

Mr. President, I know there are international concerns and issues, but let our troops go in and do their job to the fullest extent.

Time to take care of these terrorists.

As always, Psalm 91 for our troops:

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.

God bless you and keep you, and honor you for your mission of freedom.

Posted by: Romeocat at November 6, 2004 10:49 AM

Our prayers are with you! Semper Fidelis!

This shows a wonderful understanding of what we have to do. Many, many American families have been doing it for a long time. I sure many of you can say what I write below.

My Great-Great-Great Grandfather fought at New Orleans. My Great-Great-grandfather fought at Shiloh. A great-uncle did not come back from San Juan hill in Cuba. A son of his survived the Argonne forest. My highly decorated uncle was one of the few who survived the first assault on Iwo Jima. Two other uncles survived Naval battles at Midway. One of those uncles (as a medic) was also at Inchon Resevoir. My brother helped hold the line at Khe San.

Iraq must be pacified. Like Iwo Jima and Guadacanal, the Marines are on the ground. God Speed!

Posted by: leaddog2 at November 6, 2004 10:54 AM

My goodness- I can't believe the sitemeter today! Thank you Robert and Steve and Bill. I have been hoping for a long time that Lt. Col. Bellon's letters would get some top dog blogger attention. Nothing like someone actually participating rather than pontificating to tell us what the heck is going on.

Posted by: Rae at November 6, 2004 12:45 PM

You can read more of Dave's letters on which is his family blog.

Posted by: Jim Martin at November 6, 2004 01:54 PM

These Marines understand full well what Churchill meant when he said there are some things worse than war. Some things worse than death. They deserve our prayers and thanks, for they will seek out and destroy the enemies of civilization.

Posted by: warty at November 6, 2004 02:08 PM

What propaganda. You don't even realize you're being played. Even if the soldier is real, the letters certainly aren't.

p.s. Romeocat (in the comments, above) - that sort of religious fanaticism is what you're supposed to be fighting against.

Posted by: Stephen Downes at November 7, 2004 11:46 AM

you people are nuts. next time someone this has become a religious crusade i'm going to have to believe them.

Posted by: godlikefigure at November 7, 2004 05:26 PM

"Mr. President, I know there are international concerns and issues, but let our troops go in and do their job to the fullest extent."

what a moron....please have a clue before you leave home. 4/5 of the world is brown and non-christian. what gives you the bloody right to spew your xenophobic morality against other cultures? oh yes i forgot God is an american...what is worse is that you exude the same fanatical delusions as the taliban, nazis and aytollahs. same mindset, different wrapping. except you have your finger on the bomb...please educate yourself, learn there is life beyond the strip mall. lose some weight.

Posted by: godlikefigure at November 7, 2004 05:33 PM


For the sake of your messiah, Michael Moore, you should redirect your pathetic "lose some weight" comment. You seem indoctrinated, not educated. Moral equivalence; what a coward's dodge of responsibility. "We're all equal, you just don't understand them, blah, blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda..." Since LLL's always insert the "Nazi" epithet into every argument, then perhaps they can explain why there is no moral equivalence with that ultimate evil... or did your college cover those critical years of civilization? Can't change the subject or your mind, eh? Well, the results of Nov. 2nd pretty much define you as a LOSER, who still will benefit from the hardness and sacrifice of the Marines and the other armed services. Every liberal wants to be a martyr, yet NONE of them want to die! If you can't make the entrance requirement then scurry off to Canada and hide. Dave's life is on the line, so I think what he says is more important.

Posted by: mistercalm at November 7, 2004 07:01 PM

Amen, and Godspeed, Dave!

I was an Infantryman with the 82nd Airborne outside An Nassariah in 1991 when we were told to stop our forward progress and turn our back on the good Iraqi people who were rising up against Saddam. It was heartbreaking to leave them to a horrific fate because our politicians and media did not have the stomach to finish the job.

God willing the Marines and Soldiers poised to finish this job will in fact be permitted succeed; this time, without interuption by those faint of heart.

As to the comments by godlikefigure:
Dave, I and countless others have proudly fought in support of his right to express his opinion; though we vehimently disagree. I've always found it curious how the protected often choose to besmerch and belittle the protector..."For those who have fought for it, Freedom has a taste the protected will never know."

Posted by: Airborne at November 7, 2004 08:57 PM

Thank you all for your courage. I'm praying for you all. Good luck, God bless, and keep writing when you can.

Posted by: MaxedOutMama at November 7, 2004 11:22 PM

God bless you and all of your efforts. I saw that the offensive is officially underway and our hearts are heavy for our military family!

Posted by: Randy at November 8, 2004 11:50 AM

The address above for Dave's web site is incorrect. Here's the correct address:

Posted by: Doug at November 8, 2004 12:04 PM

your first post(@5:26) is incomplete and therefore makes no sense.
Your second plucks a phrase out of his letter in order to give you the opportunity to rant.
What I challenge you to do is this: Present a reasoned defense of the insurgency. Why is the kidnapping and execution of ovbious non-beligerents and others who have no responsibility for the US-led removal of Saddam defensible?
Blogs enable us to debate. Calling someone a moron, while questionable satisfying, does nothing to win your point.
Have the quality day of your choice. :)

Posted by: Bryan at November 9, 2004 08:15 AM

Wow! It's good to hear from someone on the ground other then the news Media, and As a Marine Veteran Let me just say "Pour it on" and those terrorist that survive may they come to their senses and realize that the People of Iraq deserve their Freedom.

Stay safe and may God Bless

Semper Fi


Posted by: Namreh at November 9, 2004 11:52 AM

leaddog2- "Chosin" reservoir. gotta have it right with the Marine Corps history. Think of the "Frozen Chosin" 1st Marine regiment under Chesty Puller. Inchon was the famous landing over the sea wall that started the push inland in Korea. By the way-The Chinese army in that war avoided Marines in favor of fighting the U.S. Army, they didn't like to die. Quiz-What is the most leathal weapon system in the world?
Answer-A Marine and his rifle!

Posted by: R at November 10, 2004 07:26 AM

Iread Dave's letter, and wish our men and woomen God speed in this dangerous and necessary work! I pray for their safety, and success in elimination of the enemy!
It is sickening to think of the enemy being allowed to pick off our troops from the safety of their "holy places" I guess that is what I find the most irritating. That, and the lack of discussion of that very topic by the main media. Why do we have to leave standing buildings that are assylums for the enemy, let em be blown to smithereens! If we have a church, or "holy place" giving refuge to murderers, than the same thing goes. Why do we have to lose our troops, just to keep from hurting their "religious" sensibilities?
The Muslim fanatics declared war, so war it is!
Thank you for letting me rant a bit!

Leslie from Texas

Posted by: leslie at November 11, 2004 09:56 PM
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