SHOCK AND AWE….And speaking of Shock and Awe…..
The first time I heard about it the idea repulsed me, and it still does. But initial revulsion doesn’t prove that it’s the wrong thing to do, and if it shortens the war and reduces deaths overall ? well, then it’s the right thing to do. But will it?
I think the answer is likely yes. Admittedly, the use of bombing as a way of sapping an enemy’s will to fight (as opposed to its more conventional role in destroying infrastructure) has a pretty poor history: it sure didn’t work in Vietnam, and it probably didn’t work in World War II either. But despite enormous skepticism from people like me, it did work in Kosovo, thanks to enormous increases in both raw firepower and striking accuracy. And thanks to those advances, I have a feeling it’s going to work in Iraq too.
Of course, the long buildup to war, the 12 years of sanctions, and the psychological warfare of the past few months contribute too. Still, although my gut churns at the thought, it also tells me that as a strategy Shock and Awe is probably both sound and, in the end, humane. I have no doubt that the Pentagon is genuinely doing its best to avoid civilian deaths during this campaign, and if it persuades the Republican Guard to give up the fight sooner than they otherwise would, then it will have been a success.
But I can’t say that I’m happy about it.