Is “shock and awe” disinformation?
Oh, the idea is real enough, and so is American ability to make it happen. Our arsenal of weapons, targeting capabilities, and training all make S&A a very real threat.
But in the case of a country like Iraq, the mere threat of it might be enough.
Iraq, as we all know, is held together by little more than fear of Saddam and his family and cronies. The Sunnis hate the Shi’ites and the Shi’ites hate the Sunnis and, to paraphrase Tom Lehrer, everybody hates the Kurds. Fear divides, too. The populace fears the Army, who fears the Republican Guard, who fears the political leadership.
Take away the leadership — or at least force it underground where it can’t threaten anyone — and the whole rotten heap might just collapse. The threat of S&W has certainly done the first part. Whether it can achieve the second remains to be seen.
In fact, the threat might just be better than the practice. Hitting everything all at once would certainly cause chaos. Chaos in the ranks, in the leadership, and in a already very frightened public. And our most important goal in Iraq is to eventually impose some kind of just order; chaos, at least in the medium and long terms, works against us.
Another country, such as North Korea, we would need to destroy and kill as many of their weapons and as much of their leadership as quickly and terribly as we possibly can — and with as little warning as we can manage. The North Korean Army is a real threat to South Korea, and their missiles might just be a threat to our West Coast. Should it come to war there — and I certainly hope it doesn’t — mere threats just won’t do.
But Iraq? Here’s a case where a little chest-thumping, and a lot of disinformation, might be better than the real thing.