Operation Vigilant Resolve is considered to be one of the largest blunders of the United States military during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Politics, negative press coverage, lack of operational planning, and the sheer number of the enemy in an urban environment contributed immensely to the failure of this operation. There were numerous casualties among the United States and allied forces, more than most previous battles in the Iraq Theater.
The battle initially started as a mission of justice against enemy insurgents for the deaths of a few American contractors. Emotions ran high with the top leaders as well as with Americans as they cried out for action against the enemy insurgents. But as the fog of war finally cleared from the city of Fallujah, the only thing left was a bloody nose on the face of America and lessons learned for her leaders.
On March 31st 2004, three American contractors working for Blackwater were ambushed while conducting security for a convoy carrying food supplies to a nearby forward operating base. The three American’s bodies were decapitated, burned, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and then hung from a bridge. This horrible act angered Americans especially President Bush who wanted action immediately against those who were involved with the murders.
Lieutenant General Conway the commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force who was responsible for security in the Al-Anbar province made the decision not to attack the city of Fallujah hastily in fear of high casualties among civilians. Tension was already high within the city and this he felt would undermine the support of local citizens for the allied forces operating in the Al-Anbar providence (De Lira Jr., Simpson 2005).
President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld began meeting with military leaders to discuss plans to enter the city and take action against those involved with the
Blackwater killings. Leaders on the ground in Iraq were reluctant to proceed with the operation since they did not have a clear plan in place to take the city. They requested more time to prepare for the offensive but the president was eager to attack immediately and then ordered the operation to be executed immediately (De Lira Jr., Simpson 2005).
On April 4th 2004, marines from 1st Battalion 2nd Marines established a cordon around the city. This was a brilliant plan by coalition forces as this would prevent enemy reinforcements and supplies to enter the city as well as enemy retreats out of the city. As the city was being cordoned, the rest of the coalition forces were ramping up for the offensive by...