October 11, 2004

10...9...8....7....6...5...4...3 DAYS TO FALLUJAH:

Major Assaults on Hold Until After U.S. Vote: Attacks on Iraq's rebel-held cities will be delayed, officials say. But that could make it harder to allow wider, and more legitimate, Iraqi voting in January. (Mark Mazzetti, October 11, 2004, LA Times)

The Bush administration plans to delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November, say administration officials, mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.

Although American commanders in Iraq have been buoyed by recent successes in insurgent-held towns such as Samarra and Tall Afar, administration and Pentagon officials say they will not try to retake cities such as Fallouja and Ramadi — where the insurgents' grip is strongest and U.S. military casualties could be the highest — until after Americans vote in what is likely to be an extremely close election.

"When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously," said one senior administration official involved in strategic planning, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Once you're past the election, it changes the political ramifications" of a large-scale offensive, the official said. "We're not on hold right now. We're just not as aggressive."

As Brother Cohen has so often pointed out, an announcement like this makes it a near certainty that operations in Fallujah will begin Wednesday night.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2004 11:26 AM

Look for all the people in the press and the Dems to start hollering about this today, and then look for the president to move, as you say, on Wednesday.

He's sandbagging everyone from the terrorists to the loyal opposition in this country.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at October 11, 2004 11:57 AM

That's as good as after the election, what with the baseball league series going. Or maybe it just seems that way from Boston...

Posted by: mike earl at October 11, 2004 12:06 PM

Actually, Bush's waiting for the third inning of the third game of the World Series.

(You gotta learn how to read between the lines.)

Posted by: Barry Meislinb at October 11, 2004 1:01 PM

Hey, I been saying it too!

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 11, 2004 1:27 PM