Thread: War with Iraq - Read this article if you're interested

  1. #1
    Code Monkey Davros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    War with Iraq - Read this article if you're interested

    Here in the UK, I've often found myself wondering what is the purpose of a proposed war with Iraq? We do not seem to be given any information about this, rather we are just presented with spin concerning 'weapons of mass destruction' and the 'war on terror.'

    However, a friend sent me this article, which explains things very succinctly. I think it's well worth a read if you're interested.


    Smoke and Mirrors: The United States, Iraq and Deception


    In any war, deception is a strategic necessity. However, the
    "bodyguard of lies" surrounding plans for a U.S. attack on Iraq -
    - vital to building an international coalition of support --
    could be confusing the American public and endangering political
    support for the war effort. The operational and tactical levels
    of the war now appear to be clearer than the ultimate goal. That
    is because baldly stating the strategic necessity for an attack
    on Iraq - the ability to station U.S. forces in the heart of the
    Middle East - undoubtedly would endanger the fragile war


    Surprise is essential to war, and deception is the foundation of
    surprise. During World War II, Allied planning was protected by
    what Winston Churchill referred to as "a bodyguard of lies."

    Those lies, it could be persuasively argued, were what made
    Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, successful. That
    bodyguard of lies hid the basic operational plan from German
    eyes. The strategy was known to everyone: At some point, the
    Allies would carry out an amphibious assault on the French coast.
    The Germans also knew that an invasion could be expected at any
    time. What they did not know -- due to a plan called Operation
    Fortitude -- was that plans for a U.S. 3rd Army attack at Pas de
    Calais were fictional. The real invasion was to take place at
    Normandy, involving other forces. Because of Operation Fortitude,
    the Germans knew that an invasion was coming and roughly when the
    invasion would occur -- but they were so wrong about where it
    would take place that they held their armor in reserve to protect
    the Pas de Calais, rather than hurl it at the attackers in

    Operation Fortitude offers two lessons. The first is to use all
    means necessary so as to confuse your enemy. The second, not
    nearly as frequently discussed, is that commanders must never
    allow themselves to become confused as to what the real plan is
    and -- just as important -- that the deception not extend so
    deeply and broadly that neither the troops nor the home audience
    are genuinely confused as to what is going on. At the broadest
    level, there was no confusion among the Allied troops and public
    as to the goal: unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. Many
    have criticized this goal, and others have said it was an
    unfortunate necessity designed to ensure Allied unity. It is
    frequently forgotten that the simplicity and the elegance of the
    goal kept Allied troops and the public from falling into cynical
    doubts about their leaders' true intentions. It was understood
    that the goal was unconditional surrender; the means were an
    invasion of France, an alliance with the Soviet Union and a
    strategic bombing campaign, and that the rest was best not

    In Iraq, a very different "bodyguard of lies" has taken control
    of war planning. The operational and tactical levels of the war
    appear to be clearer than the war's strategic shape or even its
    purpose. It is unclear precisely why the war is being fought and
    what outcome is desired. There are two possible reasons for this
    confusion. The first is that the leaders might in fact be
    confused, but that is difficult to believe. The team around U.S.
    President George W. Bush not only is seasoned and skilled, but
    are haunted by Vietnam -- a war in which the strategic goal never
    was clearly defined. It is hard to believe that they would commit
    the error of the Johnson administration -- lack of clarity on
    strategic goals and, thus, inability to create operational

    The second reason is more persuasive. The United States always
    has operated in the context of coalition warfare. In World War
    II, the coalition was strengthened by strategic clarity and the
    simplification of goals. At root, the one thing the Allies could
    agree on was the destruction of the Nazi regime and the
    occupation of Germany. U.S. grand strategy still is built on the
    idea of coalition warfare -- of burden-sharing -- but the
    coalition the United States would like to construct for the
    upcoming war, something like what existed during Desert Storm,
    has such diverse and contradictory interests that there is no
    simple declaration of strategic goals that would unite the
    alliance. Quite the contrary, any such statement of goals would
    divide the allies dramatically -- indeed, it would make alliance
    impossible. Therefore, the United States is searching for a
    justification that is persuasive, not true. In the process,
    Washington is neither building the coalition nor maintaining
    popular and political support for the war at home.

    In a strategic sense, there is a very good and clear explanation
    for the war: Al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11,
    2001. There is no reason to believe there will not be additional
    and more intense attacks in the future. Fighting al Qaeda on a
    tactical level -- hunting them down on their own turf, team by
    team -- is not only inefficient, but probably ineffective.
    Certainly, given the geography of the Islamic world, even
    reaching into the militants' networks has been impossible.

    However, attacking and occupying Iraq achieves three things:

    1. It takes out of the picture a potential ally for al Qaeda, one
    with sufficient resources to multiply the militant group's
    threat. Whether Iraq has been an ally in the past is immaterial -
    - it is the future that counts.
    2. It places U.S. forces in the strategic heart of the Middle
    East, capable of striking al Qaeda forces whenever U.S.
    intelligence identifies them.
    3. Most important, it allows the United States to bring its
    strength --conventional forces -- to bear on nation-states that
    are enablers or potential enablers of al Qaeda. This would
    undermine strategically one of the pillars of al Qaeda's
    capabilities: the willingness of established regimes to ignore al
    Qaeda operations within their borders.

    From a U.S. standpoint, this is the strategic rationale for a war
    with Iraq. Or, to be more precise, if this is not the rationale,
    the purpose is the one thing a war's strategic goals should never
    be -- a baffling secret.

    This is not the explanation that has been given for the war's
    strategy. The Bush administration's central problem has been that
    it has not been able to tie its Iraq strategy in with its al
    Qaeda strategy. At first, the United States tried to make the
    case that there had been collaboration between al Qaeda and Iraq
    in the past, as if trying to prove that a crime had been
    committed that justified war. The justification, of course, was
    strategic -- not what might have happened, but to prevent what
    might happen in the future. The administration then settled into
    a justification concerning weapons of mass destruction, creating
    the current uproar over whether an empty rocket could be
    construed as a justification for war.

    From the beginning, the administration fell into the trap of
    treating a war as a criminal investigation. Imagine that after
    Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had made a speech
    declaring that he would hunt down every pilot who had attacked
    Pearl Harbor without warning, and bring him to justice. In the
    ensuing insanity, the emphasis would have been on avoiding harm
    to innocent Japanese and others and implementing judicial
    procedures to make sure that only those directly involved in the
    attack were punished. When the United States made plans to land
    on Guadalcanal, it would be pointed out that the innocent people
    on Guadalcanal had done nothing to deserve the death and
    destruction that would rain down on them. Washington, rather than
    explaining the strategic rationale for the Guadalcanal operation,
    would charge the islanders with aiding the Japanese and then
    photograph a meeting between an islander and a Japanese agent in
    Prague. Officials then would claim that Guadalcanal possessed
    weapons that threatened the United States, and an inspection
    regime would be put in place.

    The Guadalcanal islanders were infinitely less deserving of
    punishment than Saddam Hussein or the country he rules, but that
    completely misses the point. Wars are not about punishment; they
    are not legal proceedings. They are actions by nations against
    other nations designed to achieve national goals. The virtue of
    the Guadalcanal islanders was not the issue, nor the guilt of
    individual pilots at Pearl Harbor. Nor, indeed, was the war about
    whether the Japanese were the aggressors or, as they claimed, the
    victims of aggression. War is war, and is carried out by its own

    The Bush administration knows this, and it has excellent
    strategic reasons for wanting to conquer Iraq. The government has
    chosen not to enunciate those motives for a simple reason: If it
    did, many of the United States' allies would oppose the war.
    Washington's goal -- the occupation of Iraq -- would strengthen
    the United States enormously, and this is something that many
    inside Washington's coalition don't want to see happen.
    Therefore, rather than crisply stating the strategic goal, the
    government has tried to ensnare its allies in a web of pseudo- legalism.
    Rather than simply stating that Iraq, like Guadalcanal,
    is a strategic prize whose occupation will facilitate the war, it
    has tried to demonstrate that Hussein has violated some
    resolution or another. Hussein, no fool, has succeeded in
    confusing the issue endlessly. The point -- that invading Iraq is
    in the U.S. national interest regardless of whether Hussein has a
    single weapon of mass destruction, is lost. This is about
    strategy, not guilt or innocence.

    This has led the United States to deal with the current problem:
    what if Hussein leaves under his own steam? As Washington has
    allowed the issue to be defined, that should go a long way toward
    satisfying U.S. goals. From a strategic standpoint, of course, it
    would achieve nothing, unless the United States was allowed to
    enter Iraq and base substantial forces there under its own
    control, to be used as it wishes.

    The downside of all of this for the United States is that
    American public opinion, rather than buying into a strategic
    vision that has not been expressed, has accepted the public
    justification offered by the Bush administration. As recent polls
    have showed, the overwhelming majority of the public oppose a war
    if weapons of mass destruction are not found in Iraq. That,
    obviously, can change, but the price of building a coalition on a
    legal foundation is that it makes public support conditional as

    There is an upside as well: The confusion over motives and
    intentions must baffle Iraq, too. Consider one example: The
    United States has indicated some interest in a settlement based
    on Hussein's resignation -- what else could Washington say? This
    also would indicate something that Hussein fundamentally believes
    -- that the United States is not eager for war. The more interest
    Washington shows in a deal, the less interested Baghdad will be,
    although he certainly will play it out for as long as possible.

    Consider other examples from the operational level. U.S.
    officials said last week that they wanted five carriers in the
    Persian Gulf before beginning the war, yet only two are there now
    and it will take up to a month for the rest to arrive. British
    officials said recently that that the British 7 Brigade -- the
    Desert Rats -- would not be ready to participate in the war on
    time, although Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon later announced that
    nearly 30,000 troops, including the Desert Rats, would be
    deployed "over the days and weeks ahead." The United States is
    trying to survey Turkish air bases with which it already is
    familiar. From where we sit, the United States appears to be
    nowhere near ready to go to war. In fact, the entire buildup
    seems completely uncoordinated.

    From Baghdad, Hussein sees all of this and might conclude that he
    has time -- time to delay, time to move forces back into Baghdad,
    time to launch preemptive chemical attacks. From where he sits,
    it might look as if U.S. strategy is not genuinely committed to
    war and U.S. operational capabilities are so out of kilter that a
    war cannot be launched before summer.

    The deception campaign at the operational level well could be
    working perfectly. Hitler thought he knew where the attack was
    coming from but was utterly wrong. Hussein might think that he
    knows where the attack is coming, but it might be that he thinks
    he has more time than he has. Deception on the operational level
    is a vital weapon.

    However, deception on the strategic level is a double-edged
    sword. Particularly in a democracy, where the von Metternichs
    must consult the public as well as the emperor, strategic
    deception can confuse the public as much as it confuses the
    enemy. Moreover, in coalition warfare, the inability to clearly
    state war goals because coalition partners don't share them might
    mean that the coalition is the problem, not the solution. Indeed,
    in creating illusory justification, the Bush administration might
    be denying the fundamental reality -- that the U.S. goal and
    those of the allies are incompatible, and that decisions need to
    be made.

    If Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the only rational
    solution is the one the Israelis used in 1981 -- destroy them. To
    allow officials in Baghdad time during an inspection crisis to
    possibly complete their fabrication makes no sense. To have
    allowed the WMD issue to supplant U.S. strategic interests as the
    justification for war has created a crisis in U.S. strategy.
    Deception campaigns are designed to protect strategies, not to
    trap them. Ultimately, the foundation of U.S. grand strategy,
    coalitions and the need for clarity in military strategy have

    The discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will not
    solve the problem, nor will a coup in Baghdad. In a war that will
    last for years, maintaining one's conceptual footing is critical.
    If that footing cannot be maintained -- if the requirements of
    the war and the requirements of strategic clarity are
    incompatible -- there are more serious issues involved than the
    future of Iraq.

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  2. #2
    It's full of stars adrianxw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Post the link next time, not the article.

    <fx> mod hat coming off

    OK read it, the author is a skilled lobbyist, spin it whatever way you like, if you read and believe everything that every lobbyist said, you'd be paranoid, bordering on schizoid.

    Wave upon wave of demented avengers march cheerfully out of obscurity unto the dream.

  3. #3
    Its not rocket science vasanth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    But it has got some valid points.....

  4. #4
    Has a Masters in B.S.
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    it makes to many assumptions and wild conclusion to have any real validity.

    i agree with adrain.
    ADVISORY: This users posts are rated CP-MA, for Mature Audiences only.

  5. #5
    Guest Sebastiani's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Waterloo, Texas
    Generally speaking, war strategies never are very public nor necessarily apparent. Just read Sun Tzu's 'The Art Of War' or Miyamoto Musashi's 'Book of Five Rings' or similar and the basic principles are basically the same anywhere. I never try to make heads nor tails of any of it, though, after all, I am outside of the conflict - a spectator. I can only condone or protest whatever happens. Being a somewhat peaceful person, of course, I usually frown on most military offenses though...

    BTW: Historically, you cannot ignore America's role as 'the puppet master'. Like it or leave it, it is has been our foreign policy for a very long time...
    #include <cmath>
    #include <complex>
    bool euler_flip(bool value)
        return std::pow
            std::complex<float>(0, 1) 
            * std::complex<float>(std::atan(1.0)
            *(1 << (value + 2)))
        ).real() < 0;

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