Amateur war analysis from your Japan correspondent

Charles Jannuzi b_rieux at
Thu Mar 20 19:10:57 MST 2003

Analysis of the action so far:

They went with a surgical strike because they
thought they knew where Saddam Hussein was

However, right now they seem to be pausing with
shock and awe. A few notes about the conduct of
battle so far.

1. Iraqi anti-aircraft might have got a lock on a
stealth fighter (the stealth bombers are junk and
don't much fly) even before it let loose a bomb
(the Serbs shot down one of these, and hit two
others, which is not good, since it is a stealth
aircraft costing hundreds of millions of

2. Iraqi anti-aircraft might be able to hit
incoming cruises (as the Serbs were able to),
which could then send them all over the place,
and then the civilian casualties would climb
while Al Jazaeera network videotaped

3. If they do have people close to the Iraqi
command (as they've been hinting on CNN for the
last 12 hours), then if they go ahead with shock
and awe they risk either killing their operatives
or exposing them.

4. The biggest nightmare scenario I see here is
that Iraqi forces do use some sort of chemical
weapon and Bush decides to retaliate with
tactical nukes.

5. I see the CNN naifs 'embedded' with US forces
are all excited about the missiles that Iraq is
launching across the border into Kuwait. First,
these are obviously not long range missiles, but
rather tactical ones--apparently a follow-on
version of Soviet era Floggers. Second, I doubt
if any Patriots have hit these, but just like
last time with the Scuds, they are breaking up as
they reach their high altitude because the Iraqi
forces, unable to get close enough, are using
them way past their specifications. I simply
don't believe the bull CNN is feeding us on the
Patriots. They are still crap.

6. Rumsfeld's war plans make 'heavy' use of light
infantry (which is all special forces and
airborne and air mobile are until they call in an
airstrike) and helicopters (military manager that
he is, he tends to buy the elite image that the
US military likes to use to justify itself). I
would suspect that Iraq is concentrating
anti-aircraft and light arms fire to hit as many
US helicopters as they can.

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