By David Isenberg
"A new US Army intelligence assessment on the first battle of Fallujah explains why the insurgents were so effective three years ago, and puts forth a long list of hard lessons learned. The engagement has become a case study in military operations in urban terrain - what many consider the bloodiest of battlegrounds - and proves eerily prescient about the skill and adaptability of Iraqi insurgents.....
The assessment found that the relative failure of the first battle of Fallujah compared to the more successful second battle of Fallujah (November 2004) offers useful political-military lessons for how to defeat asymmetric adversaries in complex environments.
* The enemy will seek to utilize the human, informational and physical complexity of urban areas to avoid direct military confrontation and exploit American political and informational vulnerabilities.
* The media presence on the battlefield was controlled by the enemy; consequently, they shaped much of the information the world viewed during the fight. In Vigilant Resolve there were few reporters embedded in marine infantry units; in Operation al-Fajr there were 91 embeds representing 60 media outlets. False allegations of noncombatant casualties were made by Arab media in both campaigns, but in the second case embedded Western reporters offered a rebuttal.
* The Iraqi government was nascent and weak and it offered no political cover for US commanders to finish the operation in a reasonable time period. Without domestic Iraqi political support, offensive operations were halted after five days of combat."