Saturday, March 22
Playing with Saddam's mind
Eric Boehlert,, March 21, 2003 |

An expert in psychological operations sees the U.S. engaged in an elaborate effort to collapse the will of the Iraqi regime. And the media are a tool.

It might be the most-hyped one-two punch in modern military history: shock and awe.

Leading up the war with Iraq, the Pentagon made sure the world, and particularly Saddam Hussein, understood the United States military was prepared to unleash a ferocious air campaign that would not only break the dictator’s back but, some war critics feared, leave Baghdad in ruins. The press leaks came complete with promises to drop 3,000 bombs in the Iraqi capitol in the first hour of fire -- a barrage that would be unprecedented in military history. One anonymous military official even warned that when shock and awe was unleashed, there would not be a single safe place in all of Baghdad.

On Friday, the blitzkrieg was rolled out, and TV networks splashed their "Shock and Awe" on-screen graphics. While the devestation was widespread, and scores of buildings were ablaze throughout the capitol, the attack did not level Baghdad as some feared, nor, according to reports, did it drop anywhere near 3,000 bombs in a single hour.

Which raises the question: Was the hype actually part of an elaborate game of psychological warfare aimed at throwing Saddam’s reign into turmoil? [...]
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