The Flaw in Shock and Awe

Officials from President Bush on down are scrambling to say they never claimed the war would be won quickly. But this was precisely the message from officers involved in planning the war. It was, in fact, the premise underlying the whole war plan.

On March 19, the day the airstrikes got under way, U.S. Air Force Col. Gary L. Crowder, chief of strategy, concepts, and doctrine for the Air Combat Command, told reporters that the war would be an “effects-based” campaign. “The effects that we are trying to create,” he explained, will be “to make it so apparent and so overwhelming at the very outset of potential military operations that the adversary quickly realizes that there is no real alternative here other than to fight and die or to give up.” Once the Iraqis realize this, Crowder added, “[T]here will be a greater likelihood that they might choose not to fight for the regime.” (Italics added.)

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