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Thursday, January 30, 2003

In the book Achieving Rapid Dominance, the authors Harlan Ullman and James Wade discuss a military strategy that they have termed as Rapid Dominance. This term, as defined in the book, aims at "producing a capability that can more effectively and efficiently achieve the political or military objectives underwriting the use of force by rendering the adversary completely impotent."

The book further does some detailed analysis of the term Rapid Dominance. It says,
In Rapid Dominance, "rapid" means the ability to move quickly before an adversary can react. This notion of rapidity applies throughout the spectrum of combat from pre-conflict deployment to all stages of battle and conflict resolution.

"Dominance" means the ability to affect and dominate an adversary's will both physically and psychologically. Physical dominance includes the ability to destroy, disarm, disrupt, neutralize, and to render impotent. Psychological dominance means the ability to destroy, defeat, and neuter the will of an adversary to resist; or convince the adversary to accept our terms and aims short of using force. The target is the adversary's will, perception, and understanding. The principal mechanism for achieving this dominance is through imposing sufficient conditions of "Shock and Awe" on the adversary to convince or compel it to accept our strategic aims and military objectives. Clearly, deception, confusion, misinformation, and disinformation, perhaps in massive amounts, must be employed. The key objective of Rapid Dominance is to impose this overwhelming level of Shock and Awe against an adversary on an immediate or sufficiently timely basis to paralyze its will to carry on. In crude terms, Rapid Dominance would seize control of the environment and paralyze or so overload an adversary's perceptions and understanding of events that the enemy would be incapable of resistance at tactical and strategic levels. An adversary would be rendered totally impotent and vulnerable to our actions. Theoretically, the magnitude of Shock and Awe Rapid Dominance seeks to impose (in extreme cases) is the non-nuclear equivalent of the impact that the atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the Japanese. The Japanese were prepared for suicidal resistance until both nuclear bombs were used. The impact of those weapons was sufficient to transform both the mindset of the average Japanese citizen and the outlook of the leadership through this condition of Shock and Awe. The Japanese simply could not comprehend the destructive power carried by a single airplane. This incomprehension produced a state of awe.

I haven't gone through the exercise of reproducing parts of a certain obscure military strategy book, for nothing.

George Bush is preparing to translate the theory of Shock and Awe into practice. It will be called the A-Day. A for airstrikes so lethal and devastating that they would leave Saddam's soldiers, not just incapable of retaliation but also unwilling to do so.

Just to gauge the intensity of this strategy, consider this. In the first two days of air-strikes, Pentagon plans to launch as many as 800 Cruise missiles (yeah! you heard that right!!) attargets in Iraq. That means a mind-boggling 400 missiles a day. A number that is double the number of such missiles launched in the entire 40-day campaign of the Gulf War in 1991. I've heard that Texans always think big. But this is ridiculous!!

"There will not be a safe place in Baghdad," a Pentagon official told America's CBS News after a briefing on the plan. "The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before."

Analysts say that the main objective is not just to disable Iraq's fighting capacity but to leave the civilian population dispirited and unwilling to support Saddam's regime. But hasn't it been tom-tommed countless number of times how the Iraqi civilian population is dis-illusioned with Saddam's rule and are not supportive of him. Then why, pray why is this necessary. On top of this Harlan Ullman, the author of the book mentioned above says, "You're sitting in Baghdad and, all of a sudden, you're the general and 30 of your division headquarters have been wiped out. You also take the city down. By that I mean you get rid of their power and water. In two, three, four, five days they are physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted." Great!! Bush listens to such people!

Now, how much does it take for Saddam to escape all this murder and mayhem sought ot be wrought by the Americans led by a sabre-rattling Bush?? Not much. His bunkers and tactics of using look-alikes worked very well last time around and there is no reason why they may not work this time as well. Moreover The Gulf nations aren't as readily agreeable to Bush's war plans as they were last time (even though, it begs to be pointed out that even last time, it took coercion to get them to agree for strikes against Iraq). So, it will not be too difficult for Saddam, his sons adn his military top-brass to sneak out of Iraq before the bombing starts. And we have seen in Afghanistan how Osama and his band of terrorists managed to sneak through American dragnets time and time again (in fact, the frustration of these failures in Afghanistan is what has led Bush to aim at a soft target like Saddam. And I mean soft target because it is very easy to get the world to hate Saddam on any given day). So, who then is left to suffer?? The Iraqi people... as usual!!

Reposrts say that Bush is prepared to give UN inspectors another month to complete their tasks. Now, doesn't this sound magnanimous on the part of George W?? But it is interesting to note that in a Gallup poll published yesterday, only 17% of the respondents were actually in favour of going to war with Iraq. With a huge chunk of the population, as large as 83%, opposed to war, George W Bush dare not jump into the war just yet. Over the course of next month, he will give speeches like the State of Union Address that he delivered yesterday while announcing a new medicare policy. He will use each and every forum to deliver speeches that will whip up sentiments of the American public in favour of war. He'll work on the philsophy mentioned by Hermann Goering before he was sentenced to death. Goering said, "Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

History repeats itself, they say. Not like this, please!

With war clouds looming large on his country's horizon, Uday Hussein, Saddam's son has already warned, "If they come, September 11, which they are crying over and see as a big thing, will be a real picnic for them, God willing. They will be hurt and pay a price they will never imagine. They can get much more from Iraq without resorting to the logic of force and war."

Good begets good... Bad will definitely beget more bad!

In the end, I'm totally shocked and certainly not in awe!


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Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.