The Americans are preparing to re-occupy Fallujah, hoping that this will allow them to suppress the resistance to their occupation of Iraq.
They will certainly be able to destroy many houses in Fallujah and kill many Iraqis. But will this "pacify" Iraq? That is, will the resistance to the American occupation stop?
Of course, if the resistance is due to "a few anti-Iraqi foreign infiltrators, Baathist diehards, and criminals", who are hell-bent on resisting the "liberation" of Iraq by the Americans, then killing or capturing these few people will stop all the resistance in Iraq.
But is the resistance due to a few "anti-Iraqi foreign infiltrators, Baathist diehards, and criminals"?
And this brings us back to the question: "Who is fighting the Americans in Iraq?".
Still at the very start of the American occupation one could see scenes of victorious American soldiers forcing doors of Iraqi houses. This was followed by a picture of an Iraqi lying on the ground and an American soldier pressing his head to the ground with his boot. In the corner near by would be children staring at the scene, and women being body-searched by male American soldiers.
Well, of course, how else could the Americans ensure their own safety? What if that man were a terrorist? Or those women had bombs under their clothes? In the war on terror, terror can be everywhere. Can one take chances with terrorists?
But for the Iraqis the word "honour" has meaning which was common in English many centuries ago - at the time when an insult to a member of one's family was avenged by killing the insulter, or members of his family or even tribe. And, if one could not fulfill that duty to avenge the family honour in one's lifetime, this duty to avenge the family honour would be passed on from generation to generation until it was fulfilled.
Putting a boot on the head of an Iraqi and body searching of women are seen as very grave insults to Iraqi honour. And Iraqi families are large tribes. So, insulting an Iraqi, means the relatives of the insulted feeling a sense of duty to avenge the insult to their tribe by killing the insulters. So, it is not surprising that some American soldiers had to pay with their lives for insulting the Iraqi honour.
And when in response to the Iraqi resistance the Americans began to bomb Fallujah, the Iraqi resistance was reinforced by the influx of Iraqis wanting to avenge the destruction of their houses and killings and maimings of their relatives.
Then came the news of the Tortures of Abu-Ghraib. In a state of war Iraqis could accept killings and torture as part of it all. But being stripped naked, urinated upon and forced to perform perverse sexual acts are insults to Iraqi honour the extent of which for the Americans is impossible even to imagine. And it was after the Tortures of Abu-Ghraib that beheadings of western hostages began.
The Americans see the beheadings as "barbaric", while homosexuality as normal civilized behaviour of which even some American bishops are proud of. But given a choice of being beheaded or sodomized many Iraqis would chose being beheaded. This is a cultural difference which for the Americans is difficult to understand.
But having seen the insults to which the Americans submitted Iraqis at Abu Ghraib, some Iraqis living safely in the West, left their safety for the turmoil of Iraq, and joined the "beheading squads" to avenge the honour of their countrymen. Something which the "western" public found difficult to understand.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the present war. And still more maimed and wounded. And countless thousands have faced insults and humiliation at the hand of the Americans. And, if to take into account the tribal bonds, this means that there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who, if have not yet joined the resistance, are ready to do so at any time.
The planned American attack on Fallujah will result in still more Iraqis dead, maimed and humiliated. And this means still further increase in the anti-American resistance.
Some people say that killing "the few terrorists" in Fallujah will "pacify" Fallujah and "pave the way to a free and democratic elections" and to acceptance by the Iraqis of an American installed government. This is either deception or self-deception. It is self-deception, if sincerely believed, and just another deception of the public, if not.
The situation in Iraq is well beyond the possibility of acceptance by the Iraqis of the American presence or influence. The Americans can continue to maintain their presence only by extreme repression accompanied by continuous Iraqi resistance. And any increase in military presence and repression will only fan the flames of resistance. Just as it was in Vietnam.
The Americans have already lost their war in Iraq in the ruins of Fallujah and the cells of Abu Ghraib. Killing still more Iraqis will not win the war. Nor will confirming the American appointed government by an elections.
In fact, after the elections, the resistance is likely to increase. This is because some Iraqis still hope that the elections will provide a way of getting rid of the American occupation by peaceful means. So, they abstain from violent resistance, waiting for the elections. But, once the elections are over and they discover that the only result of this elections was to "legitimize" an American installed government, then they will have no reason to continue to abstain from active resistance. This is just as in the first months of the American occupation, when the resistance was limited because the Iraqis were waiting to see what the Americans would do. But once they saw the Americans in action, the waiting period was over, and the resistance became stronger and more widely spread.
Now, the only question remains: "How many Americans and Iraqis will die before the Americans withdraw from Iraq?"