Information Warfare: August 19, 2002

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The much anticipated attack on Iraq is shaping up to be an Information War campaign rather than a conventional military one. The United States has long wanted to see Iraqi's long time dictator removed from power. So have most Iraqis. Saddam has stayed in power so long because he has built a formidable police state that has withstood numerous coups, rebellions and several assassination attempts a year. So how do you topple this thug without an invasion? You can do it with the right rumors, leaks and pronouncements. This is called Information War and it is a lot trickier to deal with than more conventional military force. But decades of Iraqi defectors and espionage efforts has revealed much about how Saddam's government works, and how Saddam responds to different kinds of news and events. The numerous attempts, by Iraqis, to overthrow Saddam were stimulated by rumors and political events inside and outside Iraq. The current stream of invasion news being thrown at Iraq have all the hallmarks of an Information War campaign. The most convincing bit was the recent call by the United States for aid groups to bid on contracts for providing humanitarian services in central and southern Iraq. This was cute, as for years the United States has called for such bids for northern Iraq, where the Iraqi government has been kept out by the threat of U.S. and British air strikes. The casual call for bids on the rest of Iraq makes it sound like American troops can be expected to show up shortly. Defectors indicate that Saddam's core supporters are getting more nervous. Saddam's cronies looked with horror at how the U.S. toppled the Afghan government in less than six weeks. This, plus the memory of American forces rolling over the Iraqi army in two weeks, makes it seem very real that soon Saddam will be a hunted man. Oh, yes, there have also been leaked reports of how Saddam and his henchmen would be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. However, consideration will be given those subordinates of Saddam who hand over their boss, dead or alive. Now Saddam may defeat all these Information War ploys, but such attempts cost little and there's always the chance this assault of clever words might work. If they don't, the troops probably will.

 


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