RealNews

U.S. Marines in Fallujah Using Diplomacy

“Imagine it’s your mother!” an Iraqi man shouts, demanding the Marine open a bridge north of Fallujah so an ailing woman can get medical treatment. Capt. Alex Henegar winces but handles the complaint, using the type of on-the-fly diplomacy Marine officers believe can assuage angry Iraqis and draw them in to support the rebuilding of the city, devastated by the recent U.S. assault.With rebels largely routed, Marines hope insurgent intimidation campaigns will be curtailed and that U.S. forces will be able to forge new relationships with Iraqis and pour development funds into the city to cement military gains. “This leaves us ahead. It’s hard to imagine, I know, because of the destruction. But things had been backsliding for months,” says Henegar, a civil affairs officer attached to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. “This has allowed us to start over. We no longer have a haven of dark chaos in the heart of Iraq. In some cases, we need to break things down in order to start over,” said the 30-year old from Lookout Mountain, Ga., — a recent graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. “Security is a necessary condition for everything else.” Full Story

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