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For those who feel the war on terrorism
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archives

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

 
The New Scientist has an article about a possible CIA radio station broadcasting into Iraq. The article also mentions the cellphone/email onslaught of messages warning Iraqi commanders not to use chemical or biological weapons against U.S. troops when (not if) they invade. The British and the U.S. are definitely stepping up the air campaign, attacking ground-to-ground missiles and generally breaking the no-fly-zone agreements by doing so. Meanwhile, it seems that publicly, the administration has pulled back a bit from pushing the timetable (although it's still very aggressive). My guess is that they'll try and do as much as they can under the table to weaken Iraq -- if the world won't approve of a full-scale invasion, then we'll pursue the war on a level that doesn't register and draw criticism. I would hope that people see through these efforts and realize that, for all intents and purposes, the war has already begun. A long history of covert wars during the Cold War points to a desire and ability, on the part of the U.S., to push "covert" military action as far as it can go. There are, however, operational problems with these low-level conflicts. As the visibility of the conflict increases, the goals change, and it can greatly complicate planning and deployment. Because most of the battles are not publicized, getting the truth can be difficult and there's a tendency for reporting from the field to be edited to make the situation sound rosier than it is, causing policy makers to miscalculate and to think they're playing a stronger hand than they really are. Enforcement of operational standards, whether it be rules about gathering intelligence, evaluation of potential allies, or ensuring that men and equipment are trained and deployed properly, falls by the wayside in favor of a "quick" victory. This reminds me that yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld requested that the new missile defense system be exempted from requirements for operational testing. This lowering of operational standards, along with all these other issues, weaken the U.S. military and decrease its effectiveness. In the end we end up with messy and poorly executed operations and the work of many dedicated and hard-working individuals gets nullified by the political motivations of a few people at the top.

Several of the Bush administration officials are hold-overs from Cold War administrations, such as Nixon, Ford, and Regan, that practiced this sort of ineffective and dangerous kind of war. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and many others had positions that allowed them access to policy discussions which influenced American actions in Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and many other Cold War hotspots. I suspect that their current methodology of pursuing conflicts on whatever level they can get away with has its roots in those operations. The whole situatuation is a throwback to the days when the administration sqared off against professors, journalists, and other professionals who disagreed with their policies. We all know how those conflicts turned out -- I think they give us an idea of how some of our current military adventures may end, too.

Andrew 10:40 AM : |



    Links


News:
New York Times
The Independent
Google News

Magazines:
The New Yorker
The Atlantic Monthly

Bloggers we like:
Baseball on Blake Street
Non Tibi Spiro
Africapundit
blog.lukeclayton.net

Bloggers you already know:
Atrios
Daily Kos
Kevin Drum
Cursor

Andrew's Music:
Poser P
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