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A Disinformation Strategy
The Moscow Times ^ | Apr. 3, 2003 | Pavel Felgenhauer

Posted on 04/02/2003 8:07:38 PM PST by presidio9

In his famed book "The Art of War," Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote 2,500 years ago: "War is all deceit. If you can do something, make the enemy believe you cannot; if you are close, pretend you are far away." Last week in Iraq both sides were playing Sun Tzu to the limit: The allies faked weakness and disarray, the Iraqis faked strength and confidence.

It's easy to understand why Hussein and his cohorts were claiming victory was at hand. Their only hope is to coerce Iraq's army and people to continue a senseless resistance and hold out while growing casualties fracture U.S. moral.

The 1993 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia after an unsuccessful encounter in Mogadishu (the story told in the movie "Black Hawk Down") is still very much on everyone's mind. Americans are soft and afraid of close encounters: If more than Mogadishu's 19 soldiers are killed, the American public will press for an end to hostilities. After Sept. 11, this it is not so, but that notion has not yet sunken in.

The U.S. and British allies also had a good reason to cheat. By faking weakness and portraying an inability to make a decisive push for overall victory without weeks of preparation and reinforcement, the U.S. military command apparently hoped to trick the Iraqis into keeping their best units in the field rather than withdrawing immediately to Baghdad, where defeating the Republican Guard would come at a higher cost.

All last week, the authorities deliberately fed the press and pundits with fake stories of the campaign plan gone wrong, of Iraqi resistance having "bogged down" the troops. There were constant reports that the allies had too few solders to win the coming battle for Baghdad and that crucial reinforcements would arrive only in three to four weeks.

The most outrageous piece of strategic disinformation released last week was that U.S. forward units were out of food and that restocking would take more than a week. Perhaps the intelligence officer who invented that yarn was reading some account of the American Civil War, when food rations arrived by mule.

Of course, the disinformation was fed to the public and to the enemy correctly: It all came from "unnamed reliable sources." Toeing the official line, the Pentagon repudiated stories of the war plan gone awry. But their denials were feeble and not convincing. When the allied troops began a concerted advance earlier this week, I heard a Western reporter in Baghdad relay the mood there: This cannot be true. They do not have enough troops.

If one pierces through the many lies both sides have circulated, the true picture looks like this: The allies have never been truly bogged down. The supply crunch and the reported lack of sufficient troops were grossly exaggerated. And the "Iraqi resistance" was more an annoyance than a real strategic problem.

In two weeks of fighting, the Iraqis have not been able to shoot down a single allied warplane. (In 1991, they took down 38 jets and maimed many more.) In two weeks of intense ground fighting, the allies have so far lost less than 100 men, which includes casualties of friendly fire and accidents, not Iraqi action.

In comparison, the German blitzkrieg against Poland in 1939 that is considered a masterpiece, took the lives of 13,799 German solders in 18 days with 30,322 wounded. The losses were considered insignificant. The Polish army of 1939 is comparable in overall strength with Hussein's force. In their Middle East wars, the Israelis have encountered far greater casualties than the allies today in Iraq.

"Iraqi resistance" has been patchy and highly inefficient. Hussein's forces have given up a number of intact bridges to the allies -- over the Euphrates, the Tigris and the Shatt al-Arab, indicating Iraqi forces' lack of discipline and organization.

The several-days pause by advancing U.S. and British forces was needed to pound to bits the Republican Guard lingering outside Baghdad. Attack planes were moved to the front from Kuwait to improvised airstrips in the desert to provide better close air support.

But Iraqi forces were tricked into believing they still had time since the enemy was strategically "far away," when in fact a potent allied force was in Hussein's backyard ready to advance to victory.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: disinformation; iraqifreedom; suntzu; warplan

1 posted on 04/02/2003 8:07:39 PM PST by presidio9
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To: presidio9
>The most outrageous piece of strategic disinformation released last week was that U.S. forward units were out of food and that restocking would take more than a week.

Heheheh. The Operational Pause, a classic.

2 posted on 04/02/2003 8:10:57 PM PST by Dialup Llama
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To: presidio9
If one pierces through the many lies both sides have circulated, the true picture looks like this: The allies have never been truly bogged down.
3 posted on 04/02/2003 8:14:56 PM PST by aposiopetic
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To: Dialup Llama
Heheheh. The Operational Pause, a classic.

And our idiot press lapped it up.

4 posted on 04/02/2003 8:15:28 PM PST by demlosers (resetting the record)
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To: demlosers
The toughest part was eating all 3 daily MREs while letting the embedded reporter only have one.
5 posted on 04/02/2003 8:17:47 PM PST by KarlInOhio (France: The whore for Babylon)
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To: demlosers
And our idiot press lapped it up.

And it takes a Russian to point it out for us. I wonder if this paper is translated into French. Or Garafalo.

6 posted on 04/02/2003 8:20:19 PM PST by presidio9
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To: Dialup Llama
"The most outrageous piece of strategic disinformation released last week was that U.S. forward units were out of food and that restocking would take more than a week. Perhaps the intelligence officer who invented that yarn was reading some account of the American Civil War, when food rations arrived by mule."

The funniest part being that it was a major focus of CNN, MSNBC, and NY Times coverage for days.

7 posted on 04/02/2003 8:25:50 PM PST by thoughtomator (Today, Baghdad; tomorrow, Damascus; Friday, Beirut. We have all weekend free, who wants to party?)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: presidio9
The author get's it! Nice read.
9 posted on 04/02/2003 8:28:11 PM PST by Cold Heat (Negotiate!! .............(((Blam!.)))........... "Now who else wants to negotiate?")
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To: richace
It turned out that way, but from my reading, it seems shock and awe really was the plan until events dictated otherwise.
10 posted on 04/02/2003 8:28:24 PM PST by kms61
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To: presidio9
All last week, the authorities deliberately fed the press and pundits with fake stories of the campaign plan gone wrong

So it was the military's fault that all the media claimed we were losing the war?

11 posted on 04/02/2003 8:39:06 PM PST by TennesseeProfessor
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To: Dialup Llama
I still don't think the reporters heard right. It wasn't Operational Pause but Operation Pause.
12 posted on 04/02/2003 8:51:02 PM PST by Kadric
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To: thoughtomator
/i The funniest part being that it was a major focus of CNN, MSNBC, and NY Times coverage for days. /i

Yeah. It's funny using these bozos to give disinformation to the enemy. It will be a bitter pill to swallow to these leftist media that they helped us win!!
13 posted on 04/02/2003 9:08:24 PM PST by winner3000
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To: presidio9
Oh come on ... there is no way that the hyper-intelligent press, led by such luminaries as The New Yorker's Michael Wolff could have been deceived by the Neanderthals in the military. They are much too sophisticated for that. Why just a few moments ago I saw Michael on CNBC recounting the grueling 24 hour plane ride to Doha, and the long hours devoted to wrangling the truth from CentCom ... surely someone as worldly and erudite could not be a victim of a disinformation campaign based on 2500 year old military tactics.
14 posted on 04/02/2003 9:09:35 PM PST by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: kms61; richace
It turned out that way, but from my reading, it seems shock and awe really was the plan until events dictated otherwise.

Are you sure? Our forces seem to act like a jazz band. They have objectives they want to reach, but seem to have wide lattitude to improvise when opportunities arise. The Iraqis have a limited repetoire, and have difficulty executing the scores they have practiced.

15 posted on 04/02/2003 9:13:58 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Time to bomb Saddam!)
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To: presidio9
The 1993 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia after an unsuccessful encounter in Mogadishu (the story told in the movie "Black Hawk Down") is still very much on everyone's mind. Americans are soft and afraid of close encounters: If more than Mogadishu's 19 soldiers are killed, the American public will press for an end to hostilities. After Sept. 11, this it is not so, but that notion has not yet sunken in.

When are these clueless foreigners going to wake up to the fact that we have a New President since 1993??? They keep mis-underestimating W and his strategery!

16 posted on 04/02/2003 9:31:20 PM PST by WOSG (Liberate Iraq! God Bless our Troops!)
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To: KarlInOhio
LOL.
17 posted on 04/02/2003 9:32:29 PM PST by WOSG (Liberate Iraq! God Bless our Troops!)
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To: thoughtomator
NO NO NO ... the funniest part is how NYTIMES is the *unwitting* ally of Pentagon disinformation because their kneejerk anti-Bush behavior is so PREDICTABLE!
18 posted on 04/02/2003 9:33:34 PM PST by WOSG (Liberate Iraq! God Bless our Troops!)
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To: presidio9
The best part of all this was Monday's DOW selloff (200+ pts) on this phony data. This gave agile traders a huge opportunity to grab the best stocks at bargain prices before the midweek blastoff which will continue through week's end.
19 posted on 04/02/2003 9:39:23 PM PST by montag813
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To: Paleo Conservative
Our forces seem to act like a jazz band. They have objectives they want to reach, but seem to have wide lattitude to improvise when opportunities arise.

I like that analogy!

20 posted on 04/02/2003 10:09:05 PM PST by jennyp (http://lowcarbshopper.bestmessageboard.com)
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To: presidio9
I wrote the following on a different site just this afternoon:

First the media reporters are "embedded" among the troops, guaranteeing they will bond with the soldiers and provide sympathetic stories.

Then the media are duped into telling the world (and the Iraqi's) the war will kick off with a historic bombardment of Apocalyptic proportions, forcing them to dig in while troops sprint to the edge of the enemy Capitol.

Then the ink is barely dry on the press sheets screaming that the troops are dug in for anywhere from 5 to 50 days while supplies and reinforcements are brought in, only to see a MASSIVE assault begin within 24 hours.

President Bush has pulled off the most simple, effective and brilliant Disinformation campaign in modern military history. And the US Media, those beloved idiot Savants, have carried the torch the whole entire way.

Thank you to the 5th Column of America, you Useful Idiots have never served a Republican President so fully or so well. He played you like a finely-tuned Stradavarius.

Not bad for a President whose IQ you so fully disparaged just two short years ago. Go Mr. President! We love ya!!!!!!!!!

21 posted on 04/02/2003 10:55:08 PM PST by Freedom_Is_Not_Free
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To: presidio9
Our own idiot press still doesn't get it.
22 posted on 04/02/2003 11:02:27 PM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea
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To: presidio9
"I wonder if this paper is translated into French. Or Garafalo. "

Sure, it's not hard to speak chicken and gibbering idiot.
23 posted on 04/02/2003 11:06:44 PM PST by Rasputin_TheMadMonk (Yes I am a bastard, but I'm a free, white, gun owning bastard. Just ask my exwife.)
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To: WOSG
And Peter Arnett too. Does this mean we have to forget about treason and give him a medal for being such a big help with the disinformation strategy?
24 posted on 04/02/2003 11:07:15 PM PST by GGpaX4DumpedTea
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To: spodefly
"could have been deceived by the Neanderthals in the military"


hahahahaha!

HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!

HHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAA!

Ah, that was good. Neandertals hunh? I'ld rather trust those neanders with my life than some effete POS with the misnomer of Wolff. Try chihuahua....
25 posted on 04/02/2003 11:11:01 PM PST by Rasputin_TheMadMonk (Yes I am a bastard, but I'm a free, white, gun owning bastard. Just ask my exwife.)
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To: Paleo Conservative
Our forces seem to act like a jazz band

...with an exceptionally large percussion section.

26 posted on 04/03/2003 12:28:18 AM PST by Erasmus
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To: presidio9
bump
27 posted on 04/03/2003 1:00:23 AM PST by Outraged
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To: richace
IMHO, Shock and Awe was the fact that we took out Saddam and his Evil sons on the first night!!!

I am in AWE of our military....Britain's also. I am SHOCKED at our Whore Press and Whore Retired Generals.

28 posted on 04/03/2003 2:18:10 AM PST by Claire Voyant ((visualize whirled peas))
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To: presidio9
And it takes a Russian to point it out for us. I wonder if this paper is translated into French. Or Garafalo.

Interesting. I was under the impression that The Moscow Times was relatively anti-American.

29 posted on 04/03/2003 2:19:46 AM PST by Timesink (When was the last time YOU remembered we're on Code Orange?)
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To: Paleo Conservative
...Our forces seem to act like a Jazz Band...!!!! What a terrific description!!!!
30 posted on 04/03/2003 2:20:03 AM PST by Claire Voyant ((visualize whirled peas))
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To: demlosers
our idiot press lapped it up.

Our liberal, anti-American press lapped it up, and were tricked into being part of the greatest psy-op in history.

Tee Hee.

31 posted on 04/03/2003 3:20:44 AM PST by patriciaruth
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To: Kadric
lol!
32 posted on 04/03/2003 3:22:08 AM PST by patriciaruth
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To: Timesink
Pravda is wildly unAmerican. TMT has a bit more journalistic integrity. They are not pro-American, but I thik that this is a pretty fair story.
33 posted on 04/03/2003 7:17:12 AM PST by presidio9
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To: Servant of the Nine; lodwick
It took the Rooskies to figure this out...great read!
34 posted on 04/03/2003 12:45:42 PM PST by Cuttnhorse (It's "Al Qanada" for a long time to come)
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To: presidio9; Retrofire
Rope-a-Dope!

Ping to Retrofire based on earlier discussion.

35 posted on 04/03/2003 12:48:50 PM PST by amused (Republicans for Sharpton!)
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To: Freedom_Is_Not_Free
Great post...wait until after things settle down and all the hand wringing by the press starts...all the introspection, and "I feel used" crapola starts.

President Bush and a lot of military strategists, and FReepers are going to have a hard time removing smug grins from pusses.
36 posted on 04/03/2003 12:51:34 PM PST by Cuttnhorse (It's "Al Qanada" for a long time to come)
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To: Cuttnhorse
It took the Rooskies to figure this out...

Well, they do have more experience with disinformation than anyone else.

So9

37 posted on 04/03/2003 1:25:31 PM PST by Servant of the Nine (We are the Hegemon. We can do anything we damned well please.)
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To: Dialup Llama
We beat the Soviets because they looked at the World as though it were a chess game...( a game that Russians excel at)....We Americans play poker!
38 posted on 04/03/2003 3:02:18 PM PST by mdmathis6
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To: presidio9
Wow. The author really hit the nail on the head, including the insightful reference to Somalia. The days of us leaving because of a few casualties ended when Bubba left office. What people really should have observed was not the lack of political will of Bubba, but the determination of the rangers who wanted to go back in for payback.

Anyway, this is a great article. The one constant throughout this war is that Franks has always moved before movement was anticipated. The beginning of the air war came before expected. The ground assault came before expected. The attack at Karbala and Al Kut came before expected. And now, the move to Baghdad. He has managed to achieve tactical surprise even after the war was engaged, which is amazing. Truly superior generalship.

39 posted on 04/03/2003 3:10:20 PM PST by XJarhead
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To: presidio9; All
I have read 40 posts (including this one)

What a great thread.

Thanks to all.

It feels good to laugh.
40 posted on 04/03/2003 4:30:44 PM PST by Radix
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To: spodefly
I like your tagline...
41 posted on 04/03/2003 9:46:04 PM PST by stands2reason
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