Several Reports on "Shock and Awe"

Shock & Awe: Is Baghdad the Next Hiroshima?

by Ira Chernus. Published on Monday, January 27, 2003 by

Have your heard of Harlan Ullman? Everyone in the White House and the Pentagon has. They may very well follow his plan for war in Iraq. He wants to do to Baghdad what we did to Hiroshima.

Ullman is what they call a "defense intellectual." He was the Navy's "head of extended planning" and taught at the National War College. One of his students was Secretary of State Colin Powell, who says he "raised my vision several levels."

What Powell and everyone in the Bush administration sees now is Ullman's vision for high-tech war. He calls it "rapid dominance," or "shock and awe." The idea is to scare the enemy to death. To win, you don't need to inflict physical pain and destruction. Just the fear of pain, and the massive confusion it creates, is enough.

Ullman wants the U.S. to (in his words) "deter and overpower an adversary through the adversary's perception and fear of his vulnerability and our own invincibility." "This ability to impose massive shock and awe, in essence to be able to 'turn the lights on and off' of an adversary as we choose, will so overload the perception, knowledge and understanding of that adversary that there will be no choice except to cease and desist or risk complete and total destruction."

Ullman is ready to use every kind of weapon to create shock and awe. He once said it might be a good idea to use electromagnetic waves that attack peoples' neurological systems, "to control the will and perception of adversaries, by applying a regime of shock and awe. It is about effecting behavior."

When it comes to Iraq, Ullman likes the idea of cruise missiles -- lots of them, right away. CBS News reports that Ullman's ideas are the basis for the Pentagon's war plan. The U.S. will smash Baghdad with up to 800 cruise missiles in the first two days of the war. That's about one every four minutes, day and night, for 48 hours.

The missiles will hit far more than just military targets. They will destroy everything that makes life in Baghdad livable. "We want them to quit. We want them not to fight," Ullman told CBS reporter David Martin. So "you take the city down. You get rid of their power, water. In 2,3,4,5 days they are physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted."

Ullman is sure it will work as well in 2003 as it did in 1945: "You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes." "Super tools and weapons -- information-age equivalents of the atomic bomb -- have to be invented," he wrote in the Economic Times. "As the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki finally convinced the Japanese Emperor and High Command that even suicidal resistance was futile, these tools must be directed towards a similar outcome."

When he first invented "rapid dominance," Ullman talked about an "eight-level hierarchy of shock and awe," with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the top. Now, it seems, that's where he wants to start.

Is the Hiroshima model just a metaphor? Ullman recently wrote that one way to "shock and awe" Saddam is to remind him that the U.S. has "certain weapons" that can destroy deeply buried facilities. That's a not-even-thinly-veiled reference to the newest kind of nuclear weapons, the B-61 "bunker-busters." L.A. Times columnist William Arkin has confirmed that the U.S. is preparing to use "bunker-busters" against Iraq. That would "break down the firewall separating nuclear weapons from everything else," Arkin warns, and "forever pit the Arab and Islamic world against us."

Suppose we drop the nuke in the wrong place? Even Harlan Ullman admits it could easily happen: "Of course, there will always be intelligence gaps, and no solution is perfect." But that's just the point. "The threat would be a Damoclean sword that might or might not descend." In other words, the fear of nukes falling who-knows-where would scare them into surrendering without a fight. Let other Islamic nations get as angry as they like. We'll just shock and awe them too.

And why not North Korea, while we're at it? Ullman wants a nuclear threat there, if North Korean leaders don't heel to U.S. commands: "To remind the North of its vulnerability, one or more Trident ballistic submarines could be permanently assigned to target North Korea." Tridents carry 240 nuclear warheads each. One Trident might not be enough, it seems. When you use shock and awe, you use it big-time.

So here we are, preparing to destroy a huge modern city, kill tens of thousands, and threaten nuclear attack -- all against people who have not fired a single bullet at us. Yes, it's about oil. But it's also about shock and awe, putting on a terrifying show for the whole world to see.

If all this leaves you in shock and awe, you have had your vision raised several levels too. You see what Ullman, Powell, and all the Bushies see: the U.S. frightening the whole world so badly that no one will dare fire a single bullet at us. Let them be as angry as they like, just so they know who is the meanest, toughest son of a bitch on the global block.

That is now becoming the essence of U.S. foreign policy. And they seriously believe it will put an end to war. I suppose the Romans believed it too.

More About "Shock and Awe"

from Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder...

The administration has announced a battle plan called "shock and awe," focuses on the "psychological destruction of the enemy's will to fight". (CBS).

The US intends to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people as many as 800 cruise missiles in two days. The Pentagon battle plan aims not only to crush Iraqi troops, but also wipe out power and water supplies in the capital, Baghdad. (Andrew West and agencies, January 26 2003, The Sun-Herald)

"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."

The architect of "Shock and Awe", military strategist Harlan Ullman, said, "We want them to quit, not to fight," Ullman said, "so that you have this simultaneous effect - rather like the nuclear weapons at Hiroshima - not taking days or weeks but minutes."

The main objective was not just to disable Iraq's fighting capacity but to leave the population dispirited and unwilling to support Saddam's regime. "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."

Above from: via Bill Thomson, Mon, 27 Jan 2003 16:00:36 EST

U.S. Plans Massive Attack on Iraq
Report Updated 9:40 PM ET January 24, 2003

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. warplan calls for the launch in March of three or four hundred cruise missiles a day at the start of a war on Iraq, more than were fired during the entire first Gulf War, according to a televised report on Friday.

U.S. officials and analysts have predicted for months that an attack on Iraq would be swift, massive and designed to catch Baghdad by surprise.

But the report by CBS Television, quoting Pentagon sources, offers new details of Pentagon thinking at a time when the Bush administration is undergoing a military buildup and trying to persuade President Saddam Hussein force will be used if he does not disarm.

A Pentagon spokesman declined comment.

CBS said the battle plan, called "shock and awe," focuses on the "psychological destruction of the enemy's will to fight rather than the physical destruction of his military forces."
"If the Pentagon sticks to its current war plan, one day in March, the Air Force and Navy will launch between three and four hundred cruise missiles at targets in Iraq -- more than were launched during the entire 40 days of the first Gulf War. On the second day, the plan calls for launching another three to four hundred cruise missiles," the network reported. During the 1991 Gulf War, a U.S. led armored column swept into Kuwait and destroyed Saddam's elite Republican Guard divisions in the largest tank battle since World War II.

But this time the target is the Iraqi leadership and the battle plan is designed to "bypass Iraqi divisions whenever possible," the network reported.

(Reporting by Carol Giacomo, editing by Sandra Maler; Reuters messaging: