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Friday, March 21, 2003

 
Grrrr...my internet connection was up the spout yesterday morning, so a long posting today.
Opening moves...
Nothing terribly surprising in Iraq. A small exchange of missiles and a couple American probing attacks. Still, a couple notable events.

First, the U.S. missiles attacked and destroyed the Taji communications center, which is the fiber-optic linkup for most of Iraq's communications. It was built by the Chinese.

An Iraqi unmanned drone aircraft - a direct violation of Security Council resolutions - crashed in the Kuwaiti desert.

Matt Lauer of NBC's Today show was reporting from the CentCom briefing center in Qatar. For some unfathomable reason, he commented that there had been "controversy" over the $275,000 cost of the center, which will be used to brief journalists. Of course, if they hadn't built it, he'd probably be complaining about the lack of such facilities and the austerity of the existing ones. As expected, journalists in Qatar are complaining because they haven't been given every last minute detail of the military's plans. I heard one journalist on ABC radio comment about CentCom's briefing center, "Is this facility intended to keep us informed, or is it really to control us?"

The news media is still going on and on about possible Iraqi chemical attacks. I mean gee, guys, our good buddy Hans told us Iraq doesn't have any, or at least was getting rid of what he did have like a good little dictator.

There are reports running rampant that last night's attack may have killed Saddam Hussein. Apparently U.S. officials found out about a possible meeting of the top leaders of the Iraqi military in bunker in Baghdad, which was the primary target of the strike. Ever the unbiased journalist, Katie Couric this morning in an interview with two military analysts was already calling the attack a "failure" even though no one is sure just what happened.

What in the world is the media's fascination with "Shock and Awe?" Quite frankly, the military has it's timetable, and the media was expecting them to step off at 8:01 p.m. eastern time. They've probably got thier panties in a rumple because they have pre-empted virtually all thier daytime programming and very little has happened. They were expecting a fireworks display a la Operation Desert Storm and didn't get it.

The media thinks Saddam is a tactical genius...

What is it about the news media that treats Saddam as this formidable military genius? The guy hasn't won a single war he's been in, but the media is doing thier darndest to portray him as the second coming of Saladin. There is story after story about how Saddam will use oil as a weapon, igniting them to create problems for the attacking U.S. forces. He tried that in the Gulf War, and look how far it got him. A mere nuisance.

Tonight, NBC News ran a story on how Saddam might demolish some of his own dams to create some huge flood to impede the American advance. Aside from the fact that he will kill his own people (and if they mean so little to him it belies the media's claim that Iraqis really, really like Saddam), contaminate drinking water (do I really have to remind everyone most of Iraq is desert?) and lose badly needed hydroelectric power among other things, dumping a bunch of water down the rivers will at worst force the Americans to take a slightly different route to Baghdad. Tanks will swing wide, and it won't impede aircraft one little bit.

The pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story speculating Saddam would fire on his own people to create a flood of refugees that would clog the roads and make a U.S. advance harder. As anyone who studied the German blitzkrieg tactics in the Spanish Civil War and World War II will tell you, the Wehrmacht did this very thing, and they were on the attack! The refugees so clogged the roads that defending forces couldn't react and send reinforcements in time to stop the German advance.

Point of all this being, the media comes up with all these hare-brained tactical schemes like Saddam is some kind of genius, and he is a military twit. Remember the Gulf War, when the media thought Saddam was so cunning to bury his tanks in the sand to make them harder to hit? I'll bet the war planners were laughing loud and long on that one. First of all, a buried tank sacrifices it's most important asset - speed. Second, some bright boy in Iraq forgot to tell Saddam that sand and metal cool at two different rates. The Alliance forces merely flew over at night using infrared gear, and the buried tanks stuck out like a neon sign in a pitch black room. Bombs away. Yeah, he was a real genius then, and I'm sure he's gotten so much better in the interim.

Personally, I'm looking for a head fake to the east, the route everyone has been saying our forces will take, while the armor heads left into the Iraqi desert to make an end run at Baghdad. In the desert, air and armor rule.

"Today's report confirms that, despite White House scare tactics, Social Security remains sound for decades to come.."

-? Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) upon hearing reports that the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds will go bankrupt even earlier than predicted.

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