The now-famous shock-and-awe strategy, which appears for the time being to have shocked and awed the American media just a little more than the Iraqi Republican Guards, was fathered chiefly by one Harlan Ullman, a former Navy pilot who spent the mid-1990s as part of a Pentagon research team known as the Rapid Dominance Study Group.
Ullman was the lead author of the group's report, which recommended, well, rapid dominance as a way of minimizing casualties and shortening a war's duration. He points, improbably enough, to the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as responsible examples of the genre, arguing that not using atomic bombs would have prolonged the conflict and led to many more casualties on both sides. We can safely say that he is not a peacenik.
The shooting may or may not have started by the time you read this. But one thing that has certainly begun is the campaign to force dissenters to keep it zipped when the shooting commences. "Once the war against Saddam [Hussein] begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if they can't do that, to shut up," bayed Bill O'Reilly on his Feb. 26 cable show. "Americans and, indeed, our allies who actively work against our military once the war is under way will be considered enemies of the state by me." This was a tad demagogic even by O'Reilly's virtually nonexistent standards, so the next night he toned it -- very marginally -- down. He said he won't think of dissenters as un-American, just as "bad" Americans.
True to form -- on its path to a war in whose name evidence has been doctored and public rationales have been trotted out like successive Lexus ad campaigns -- the administration has waited until the last possible second to attach a dollar amount to this supposedly unavoidable conflict. Or even later than the last possible second: In all likelihood, hostilities will commence before the Bush administration officially sends to Congress its request for war appropriations, expected to be in the $80 billion range.
On Saturday evening March 1, Daniel Ellsberg was noodling around the Web and happened across a story from the British newspaper The Observer that caught his eye under the tantalizing headline, "Revealed: US Dirty Tricks to Win Vote on Iraq War." The paper's Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy and Peter Beaumont had obtained a copy of a memo from a National Security Agency (NSA) official outlining U.S. plans to spy on certain United Nations Security Council members to get some insight into their thinking on Iraq and the coming Security Council vote.
The more or less pleasant cajolery didn't work. The coarse arm twisting hasn't been doing much good, either. So now, the Bush administration -- in its campaign to put the squeeze on the "Middle Six" United Nations Security Council members still on the fence with regard to a second UN resolution approving war against Iraq -- has commenced a whispering campaign designed to incite anti-Mexican sentiment or action in the United States.