NBC reports on how peaceful Fallujah has become in a piece you can see here, Fallajuh in Transition.
Most troubling is how unquestioning they are about how this city has become so peaceful. Quite simply, U.S. Marines monitor all traffic in and out of the city through five check points. Everyone must have a photo ID and bags, purses, and pockets are searched. Violence has dropped by 90%.
I find two things hard to imagine. One, that violence would have much room for expression here. Two, that Fallajuh looks anything like the model of what Americans thought they were buying when sold on the notion of democracy in the Middle East. Imagine that each time you entered your town or city, you had to go through the equivalent of airport security.
There are so many problems with offering Fallajuh as a model of what should be, but I will focus only on one. While this strategy makes the city more peaceful, its success depends on U.S. Marines standing guard year after year. Peace in Fallujah depends on our maintaining a police state indefinitely. As I've previously written, this suggests that even as measures of violence will drop with the troop escalation, this strategy just gets us further into the brier patch.
I don't know how we can reach any conclusion other than this: we've freed the Iraqi people from the militaristic rule of a despot for the militaristic rule of an American bureaucracy. That NBC can report on this as if it is a success is to show how much this administration and the press have distorted the notions of freedom and democracy or even what is worth fighting for.