Coalition Vows ‘Deliberate’ Response to Attacks
By John D. Banusiewicz
precise, overwhelming" response awaits the insurgents who
killed four American contractors and five U.S. soldiers March
31, the coalition’s military spokesman said at a Baghdad news
Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy operations director for Combined Joint
Task Force 7, promised an appropriate, if not immediate, military
reaction. The civilians were in a vehicle escorting a food convoy
in Fallujah, Iraq, when it came under attack by grenades and small-arms
fire. The troops were patrolling near that city when their vehicle
hit a roadside bomb.
not going to do a pell-mell rush into the city (of Fallujah),"
Kimmitt said. "It’s going to be deliberate, it will be precise,
and it will be overwhelming. We will not rush in to make things
worse. We will plan our way through this, and we will re-establish
control of that city, and we will pacify that city."
the restraint shown by military leaders in the aftermath of the
Fallujah attack – in which the bodies of the victims were
abused and desecrated – may have prevented more carnage.
"I think that there was a well-thought-out decision on the
part of the Marines" not to rush headlong into the city,
Kimmitt said, given the possibility that the insurgents could
have had ambushes set up or might have used civilians as human
(the desecration of the victims’ bodies) was dreadful, while it
was unacceptable, while it was bestial," the general said,
"a pre-emptive attack into the city could have taken a bad
situation and made it even worse."
But the lack
of an immediate military response doesn’t mean there won’t be
one, Kimmitt said. "We will be back in Fallujah," he
vowed. "It will be at the time and the place of our choosing.
We will hunt down the criminals. We will kill them or we will
capture them, and we will pacify Fallujah."
At a Baghdad
Police Academy graduation ceremony today for 479 new Iraq police,
the coalition’s civilian administrator also condemned the attacks,
according to chief spokesman Dan Senor, also at the news conference.
Senor read reporters a portion of Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III’s
acts we have seen were despicable and inexcusable," Senor
quoted Bremer as saying. "They violate the tenets of all
religions – Islam included – as well as the foundations
of civilized society." Senor said Bremer promised the soldiers’
and contractors’ deaths "will not go unpunished."
Bremer’s expression of sympathy to the families of all civilian
and military Iraqi and coalition families whose loved ones "have
given their lives in the war to liberate Iraq and free it from
the attacks as "a crime under law and a crime against the
future of Iraq," Senor said, and labeled the attackers as
"cowards and ghouls" who represent the worst of society.
Bremer also expressed his determination that Iraq’s progress toward
democracy would be undeterred by the attacks.
murders are a painful outrage for us in the coalition, but they
will not derail the march to stability and democracy in Iraq,"
Senor quoted from Bremer’s statement.