The Freedom of Knowledge, The Power of Thought ©
US Plans "Shock and Awe" Blitzkrieg in
[Editor's Note: The viscious fascists now in charge of this government
would make even Hitler wince with their utter disregard for the value of
human life. The men who are behind these ideas and strategies, and the individuals
who support this insanity will ultimately meet their fate and pay the price
for their cruelty to their fellow human beings, if not in this life, then
in the one to come...Ken Adachi]
By Henry Michaels
30 January 2003
The war being prepared by the White House and Pentagon on the people of Iraq
will be characterized by barbarism on a scale not seen since the horrors
of the 1930s and 1940s. The level of brutality will recall scenes seared
into the collective consciousness of previous generations, such as the bombing
of Guernica and the Nazi blitzkrieg against Poland.
Washington is making it clear that it considers nuclear weapons an option
in Iraq. In recent days Pentagon sources have let it be known that such “weapons
of mass destruction” are being readied for use, and there is a real possibility
that the Bush administration will unleash them should American forces find
themselves in serious difficulty.
Even without recourse to nuclear arms, the US war plan calls for saturation
bombing of Iraq. The Pentagon intends to devastate the country with more
missiles in one day than were used throughout the 40-day Gulf War 12 years
ago. The World Health Organization is warning that up to half a million Iraqi
people will be killed or maimed.
Purely military considerations cannot explain such savagery. Bush’s war plans
are driven by political aims—to terrorize and demoralize the Iraqi people
and the Arab masses and send a message of violence and intimidation to the
entire world. In the interests of the corporate and financial oligarchy and
the pursuit of global hegemony, the Bush administration is preparing to commit
war crimes of immense proportions.
The US is flouting the entire structure of international law, especially
that which emerged in the aftermath of the horrors of World War II. Its doctrine
of preemptive war makes a mockery of the principles of non-aggression and
international legality laid down in the charter of the United Nations, whose
resolutions Washington claims to be defending.
It should be recalled that after the defeat of fascist Germany and Imperial
Japan, government and military leaders were charged and convicted for planning
and carrying out aggressive war—a charge that carried the penalty of death.
Former US army intelligence officer William Arkin reported in the Los Angeles
Times on January 26, citing US Central Command sources, that a “Theater Nuclear
Planning Document” had been prepared for Iraq, listing options and potential
targets for the use of nuclear weapons.
According to the unnamed sources, the planning focuses on attacking Iraqi
facilities alleged to be deep underground, as well as thwarting any Iraqi
use of biological or chemical weapons. US officials have already accused
Saddam Hussein of burying military sites beneath populated areas, establishing
a pretext for bombing cities and towns.
It is clear from the documents quoted by Arkin that the nuclear option is
also being considered for the possibility that US forces, despite overwhelming
firepower superiority, suffer heavy casualties or become bogged down in Iraq.
Under a classified Pentagon nuclear posture review, signed by Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld and issued in final form in early 2002, nuclear weapons could
be employed “in the event of surprising military developments.”
The White House has significantly lowered the nuclear threshold by removing
nuclear weapons from their long-established special category and lumping
them with all other military options—such as Special Forces, covert operations,
cyber warfare, “strategic deception,” psychological warfare and air power.
On December 11, Rumsfeld sent Bush a memorandum asking for authority to place
Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., the Strategic Command (STRATCOM) commander in
Omaha, Nebraska, in charge of the full range of “strategic” warfare assets,
including nuclear warheads. Earlier this month, with almost no discussion
inside the Pentagon, let alone the Congress or in public, Bush approved Rumsfeld’s
Admiral Ellis’s own proclivities were revealed in a rhetorical question that
he posed last month: “If you can find that time-critical, key terrorist target
or that weapons-of-mass-destruction stockpile, and you have minutes rather
than hours or days to deal with it, how do you reach out and negate that
threat to our nation half a world away?”
The nuclear planning is being carried out at STRATCOM’s headquarters, by
small teams in Washington and at Vice President Richard Cheney’s “undisclosed
location” in Pennsylvania. Cheney, who heads a secret “shadow” government
set up in the wake of the September 11 attack, could well push the nuclear
Iraq is not the only target for the new nuclear doctrine. STRATCOM’s newly
created Theater Planning Activity has focused on seven priority target nations—the
so-called “axis of evil” of Iraq, Iran and North Korea, plus Syria, Libya,
China and Russia. Hence, any crossing of the nuclear threshold in Iraq will
signal a new period of nuclear warfare.
While declining to comment on Arkin’s report, White House spokesmen have
bluntly refused to rule out the nuclear scenario. “The United States reserves
the right to defend itself and its allies by whatever means necessary,” Bush’s
chief of staff Andrew Card declared on January 26.
“Shock and awe”
CBS news reported last weekend that the invasion will begin with war planes
and ships launching between 300 and 400 cruise missiles on day one. This
is more than the number of missiles launched during the whole of “Desert
Storm” in 1991. Another 300 to 400 missiles will follow on the second day.
At an average rate of one weapon every four minutes around the clock, missiles
will relentlessly rain down on Baghdad and knock out water supplies, electricity
services, communications, government buildings, roads, bridges and other
The Air Force has stockpiled 6,000 such missiles, many of them so-called
“dumb bombs” that have been fitted with satellite guidance kits. In the first
Gulf War, the Pentagon’s “smart bombs” were responsible for widespread atrocities.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis, civilians as well as soldiers, were slaughtered
during the brief 1991 war.
This time, Pentagon officials have declared, the saturation bombing will
exceed anything previously seen in history. “The sheer size of this has never
been seen before, never been contemplated before,” a Pentagon official told
CBS. “There will not be a safe place in Baghdad.”
This co-called “Rapid Dominance” battle plan is based a concept formulated
in a report drawn up by the Pentagon-run National Defense University in 1996—that
is, under the Clinton administration and well before events of September
11, 2001. The concept is dubbed “Shock and Awe” because it seeks the psychological
overwhelming of the enemy, and, by extension, the intimidation of the world’s
Speaking to CBS news, one of the report’s authors, Harlan Ullman, drew a
direct parallel to Hiroshima. Within two to five days, the Iraqi people would
be “physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted,” he stated. He
spoke of having “this simultaneous effect, rather like the nuclear weapons
at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but in minutes.”
This theme is elaborated in the 1996 report: “The key objective of Rapid
Dominance is to impose [an] 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.”
In the next paragraph, the report emphasizes that the use of nuclear weapons
cannot be ruled out. In fact, it declares, Rapid Dominance “must be underwritten”
by their destructive capacity.
Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, who headed the UN food-for-oil
sanctions program in Iraq in 1997-98, has accused the US and its sole major
ally Britain of proceeding with plans to “annihilate Iraqi society, a catastrophe
that would be heightened by the threatened use of tactical nuclear weaponry.”
A group of more than 100 law professors has warned Bush in a letter that
senior officials could face prosecutions for war crimes, crimes against humanity
and genocide if the Iraq war proceeds. Despite the US refusal to ratify the
treaty establishing the new International Criminal Court, the letter stated,
“US officials involved in committing certain international crimes may nonetheless
be held responsible under principles of Universal Jurisdiction and the War
Aware of the outrage that its actions will provoke, the US State Department
has cabled embassies around the world telling Americans abroad to be ready
to evacuate their resident countries quickly in the event of political unrest
or “terrorist” attacks. It is the first such blanket warning ever issued
by the State Department.
The US onslaught will horrify millions of people around the world. They will
rightly condemn the US government for unspeakable savagery and seek political
answers. The long-prepared plans adopted by the Bush administration underscore
the fact that protest alone will not halt the war. That requires the international
mobilization of the working people to end the economic system responsible
for this new eruption of barbarism.
Blueprint for a US colonial regime in Baghdad
[21 January 2003]
UN report details humanitarian disaster expected from war vs. Iraq
[13 June 2003]
US accelerates preparations for invasion of Iraq
[4 January 2003]
White House defends nuclear war plans with sophistries and saber-rattling
[15 March 2002]
US plans widespread use of nuclear weapons in war
Bush orders Pentagon to target seven nations for attack
[11 March 2002]
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