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[] NYT 26.03.03: Take Down Saddam TV,

New York Times
March 26, 2003

Take Down Saddam TV

By Maureen Dowd

WASHINGTON--Rummy was grumpy.

TV generals and Pentagon reporters were poking at his war plan, wondering 
if he had enough troops and armor on the ground to take Baghdad and protect 
the rear of his advancing infantry.

"It's a good plan," the war czar insisted with a grimace, adding that 
battle is "a tough business."

The cocky theorists of the administration, and their neo-con gurus, are now 
faced with reality and history: the treacherous challenge, and the cost in 
lives and money, of bringing order out of chaos in Iraq.

With sandstorms blackening their TV screens, with P.O.W.'s and casualties 
tearing at their hearts, Americans are coming to grips with the triptych of 
bold transformation experiments that are now in play.

There is the president's dream of remaking the Middle East to make America 
safer from terrorists.

There is Dick Cheney's desire to transform America into a place that flexes 
its power in the face of any evil.

There is Donald Rumsfeld's transformation of the American military, 
changing from the old heavy ground forces to smaller, more flexible units 
with high-tech weapons.

When Tommy Franks and other generals fought Rummy last summer, telling him 
he could not invade Iraq without overwhelming force, the defense chief 
treated them like old Europe, acting as if they just didn't get it.

He was going to send a smaller force on a lightning-quick race to Baghdad, 
relying on air strikes and psychological operations leaflets to civilians 
and e-mail and calls to Iraqi generals to encourage Iraqis to revolt 
against Saddam.

(The Pentagon has downgraded Saddam, the way it did Osama when it just 
missed getting him. Now the war in Iraq is "not about one man," as General 
Franks put it.)

The administration was afraid that with too many Iraqis dead, we would lose 
the support of the world. But some generals worry that by avoiding tactics 
that could kill Iraqi civilians and "baby-talking" the Iraqi military, we 
have emboldened the enemy and endangered American troops.

As Ralph Peters, a retired military officer, wrote in a Washington Post 
op-ed article: "Some things do not change. The best way to shock and awe an 
enemy is still to kill him."

Despite the vast sums we spend on our intelligence and diplomatic services, 
American officials often seem clueless about the culture of our 
adversaries. After Vietnam, Robert McNamara admitted that he and other war 
planners had never understood Vietnamese history and culture. Our 
intelligence services didn't see the Iranian revolution coming, or the 
Soviet Union's breakup.

It's hard to know why the administration seems so surprised at Iraqi ruses. 
As Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military tactician who inspired the "shock 
and awe" campaign, noted, "All war is deception." Besides, the Iraqis used 
similar fake surrender tricks in the last gulf war.

It's also hard to know why the Pentagon is surprised at Iraqi brutality, or 
at the failure of Iraqi ethnic groups, deserted by America after the last 
gulf war, to celebrate their "liberation" by the U.S., or by the hardened 
resistance of Saddam loyalists like the fedayeen, who have no escape hatch 
this time around.

American war planners were privately experiencing some shock and awe at 
Iraqi obliviousness to shock and awe, which we can see on TV, as Iraqis 
crowd into restaurants and onto roofs to watch the bombing.

Miscalculating, the Pentagon delayed trying to take down Iraqi TV until 
last night because it hoped to use the network after the war. But that 
target should have been one of the first so the Iraqis could not have 
peddled their propaganda, paraded our P.O.W.'s and shown brazen speeches by 
Saddam, or Stepford-Saddam, and the mockery of Iraqi officials over the 
predictions of a quick victory.

The Pentagon started last year with an "inside out" strategy that would 
rely on a quick capture of Baghdad, with U.S. forces then taking over the 
rest of the country. That was scrapped in favor of the "outside in" 
strategy that we're now witnessing.

But Saddam responded to our "outside in" strategy with his own "inside out" 

Tragically for everybody, the Iraqi fiend is still inside, dug in and 
diabolically determined to kill as many people as he can on the way out.

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