So, I'm getting a little confused about this "shock and awe" thing.
The original buildup involved comparisons to Hiroshima -- the original idea
try to stun the enemy into surrender the way that the nuclear bomb
did, or maybe it was the German blitzkrieg.
But the campaign as it unfolded seems to have been accurately
described by "buffpilot", a poster who announced himself as a B-52
pilot in the comments
post on the Daily Kos (and endured a bit of ribbing until people
finally figured out that the handle was a reference to his aircraft --
"Big, Ugly, Fat..." -- and not his physique):
- This was precision bombing (I know your laughing but give
me a minute). The western part of Baghdad is the military complex and
bases. Also some key government buildings. The multiple blasts were
either secondaries (like ammo dumps/fuel storage going up) or multiple
strikes on bunkers to literally dig them out. The S & A is that we
could do this all over the country all at the same time. I hope they
can control the fires before they spread to civilian areas. (Note the
lights are still on and the fire response should be unhindered except
in military areas)
So, the Iraqis are supposed to be shocked and awed thing that we
flicked the firing switches on a few hundred missiles that they knew
we were going to send to a few hundred predictable targets all at
What was shocking and awesome about blitzkrieg was that it
overwhelmed enemies that weren't expecting it, leaving them without
support, in an army that was disintegrating, before they even knew
what was happening. Hiroshima shocked and awed by showing the
Japanese leadership the realistic prospect that Japan might be
completely annihilated. And this. We hit a bunch of predictable
targets, that were probably empty already, and figured that doing it
all at once, with the most expensive fireworks show in the history of
the planet... well, it was spectacular, to be sure, but once the dust
settled, you can almost imagine the Iraqi leadership wondering at the
end, "So, was that it?"
At any rate, they don't seem to be shocked and they certainly
aren't awed, at least not by anything they've seen yet.
And by the way, for those who believe that the rigidity of the
Iraqi troops, and their slavish devotion to the command chain, are a
major weakness of their army -- please consider that elements of the
Iraqi 51st division are apparently continuing
to fight around Basra after their commanding officers surrendered.
[Update: according to this post from The Agonist, the commander hasn't surrendered either, despite reports that he had in the mainstream press. I'm trying to figure out how they could have blown it on something like that.]
(But let's not pretend Dubya's crew accomplished nothing with their
fireworks show, on which they spent over $100 million in cruise
missiles alone. However few civilian casualties there are -- and
there are certainly civilian casualties; the smartest bombs set dumb
fires which are spread by dumb winds all over the neighborhood -- he
has given Osama bin Laden, and his heirs and followers, recruiting
film which they'll be using for the next fifty years).
I just did something I'm trying to avoid, by the
way; I cited a news story about the comings and goings of the armies.
At best, that reportage is highly unreliable; with each side doing its
damnedest to deceive the other about what's going on, most of that is
likely to be seriously misleading -- as in the first Gulf War, where
there was what appeared to be thorough reporting from the Western
press, which gave barely a hint of the large force to the east which
ultimately showed up as Schwarzkopf's "hook maneuver". How bad could
it be this time? Well, how much have you heard about the American
force coming in from