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Former scout sniper Earl J. Catagnus Jr. fought and bled in the taking of that ancient city on the banks of the Euphrates River. Now a military historian, Catagnus feels the battle has taken on an almost disproportionate importance in the American mind. “If you watch ‘NCIS’ or anything that has a Marine … they always say, ‘Oh, I was in Fallujah,'” says the Purple Heart recipient, who left the military as a staff sergeant in 2006 and is now an assistant professor of history at Valley Forge Military Academy & College in Wayne, Pa. “For the new generation, it’s because everybody keeps mentioning it. And that is the battle that really made a warrior a warrior. ….
“It’s just for us as Americans, because we’ve elevated that battle to such high standards … that it becomes turned into the ‘lost cause,’ the Vietnam War syndrome.”, In the annals of the Marine Corps, the battle for Fallujah looms large, The fighting there began in April 2004 after four security contractors from Blackwater USA were killed and the desecrated bodies of two ballet shoes sketch easy were hung from a bridge, The so-called second battle of Fallujah — code-named Operation Phantom Fury — came seven months later..
For several bloody weeks, the Marines went house-to-house in what has been called some of the heaviest urban combat involving the Corps since the Battle of Hue City, Vietnam, in 1968. Historian Richard Lowry, who interviewed nearly 200 veterans of the Iraq battle, likens it to “a thousand SWAT teams going through the city, clearing criminals out.”. “They entered darkened rooms, kicking down doors, never knowing if they would find an Iraqi family hunkered down in fear or an Islamist terrorist waiting to shoot them and kill them,” says Lowry, author of the book “New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah.”.
About 100 Americans died and another 1,000 were wounded during the major fighting there, Lowry says, adding that it’s difficult to overstate Fallujah’s importance in ballet shoes sketch easy the Iraq war, “Up until that time, the nation was spiraling into anarchy, totally out of control,” says Lowry, a Vietnam-era submarine veteran, “The United States Marine Corps — with help from the Army and from the Iraqis — went into Fallujah and cleared the entire city and brought security to Anbar Province, allowing the Iraqis to hold their first successful election.”..
And that is why the al-Qaida takeover is such a bitter disappointment for many. Former Marine Lance Cpl. Garrett Anderson’s unit lost 51 members in the city. When he considers whether the fighting was in vain, it turns his stomach. “As a war fighter and Marine veteran of that battle, I feel that our job was to destroy our enemy. That was accomplished at the time and is why our dead will never be in vain. We won the day and the battle,” said the 28-year-old, who now studies filmmaking in Portland, Ore. “If Marines were in that city today there would be dead Qaida all over the streets again, but the reality is this is only the beginning of something most people who have been paying attention since the war began knew was going to end this way.”.
On Tuesday, the site duffelblog.com posted a satirical column about two former Marines raising $1,300 on Kickstarter to go back and retake the city in time for the battle’s tenth ballet shoes sketch easy anniversary, “We paid for that city and we’re keeping it!” one fictional commenter tells the site, The piece had more than 30,000 Facebook likes by Wednesday, Lowry says the U.S, “abandoned” the region’s Sunnis, paving the way for a Shiite-led government that has “gotten into bed with the Iranians.” He adds: “There is a polarization returning between the Shiites and the Sunnis … and it’s spreading.”..
Catagnus and others say the situation is more nuanced than that. A sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines at the time, Catagnus was gearing up to go out when insurgents detonated the improvised bomb about 8 feet away. Despite a concussion and shrapnel wounds to his face, he never left the line. While conceding that the battle helped change doctrine for urban warfare, he thinks Fallujah has become politicized — especially here at home. “There’s a lot of fiery language around it,” he says. “I do not see this as the culmination of the failure of all of our efforts — yet.”.
Roman Baca, who served in Fallujah for about eight months as a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves, says it’s hard for him to hear people question the military’s work there, During his time, his machine gun platoon spent many of its days patrolling local villages, delivering school supplies to students and food and ballet shoes sketch easy water, The 39-year-old New York City man returned to Iraq last year to conduct a dance workshop, He’s most worried about what the outbreak of violence means for the Iraqis..