The comeback of Fallouja, the site of two major battles between Marines and insurgents in 2004, surprises even the most optimistic U.S. planners.
“It continues to outpace all expectations,” said Navy Capt. John Dal Santo, part of a State Department-funded effort called the Provincial Reconstruction Team for Fallouja.
City Council leader Sheik Hamed Ahmed said that he was pleased with the city’s progress but that he needed more generators for his neighborhood. Ahmed’s three predecessors were assassinated by insurgents, but he has refused to back down.
“Fallouja is alive again,” he said.
Restaurants, bakeries, photo shops, tire stores, Internet cafes, a body-building studio and other businesses line the avenues and side streets. BMWs share lanes with donkey carts on congested thoroughfares.
Many extraordinary Americans died freeing Fallouja/Fallujah first from Saddam and then from al Qaeda butchers. Stories like this one honor their sacrifice and confirm that they were fighting the good fight.