Jewish World Review August 1, 2002 / 23 Menachem-Av, 5762

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais? | We may find out soon whether all this talk of invading Iraq has been part of the greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais.

Rumors of war have been rife in the news media of late, and they've been contradictory. On July 5, the New York Times published a front page story on a ground heavy invasion plan for Iraq. On July 29, the Times had another, very different, invasion plan - this one involving a quick strike on Baghdad - on its front page.

Meanwhile, the British press has been reporting both a "rift" between Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush about invading Iraq, and that Blair has presented to Parliament the case for taking part in a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The London Evening Standard and Pravda report that U.S. and British special forces already are staging in countries surrounding Iraq. A "massive assault" could be likely at short notice, said the London Observer. But unidentified congressional sources say unidentified administration officials told them there will be no invasion before next year.

Confused? That may be the point. Not to confuse you, but to confuse Saddam. If he does not know when and how we will strike, he will be less able to defend himself. And if Saddam isn't quite sure whether we will strike, his guard might slip a bit. That a lot of journalists may wind up with egg on their faces is lagniappe.

The first thing to note about the conflicting war plans reported in the New York Times is that both could be true, and neither deserved the play the Times gave them. The Times breathlessly implies these are THE plans, when in all likelihood they are just a couple of dozens of contingencies prepared by mid-level military bureaucrats. The real plans, if they've been formulated, will be very close hold. It should not be difficult for the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, to whom Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has assigned the responsibility of finding the leakers, if Rumsfeld really wants them found.

The second is that there are two powerful physical constraints on the timing of an attack on Iraq. The Kosovo and Afghan wars drained our supply of JDAMs, the satellite guidance system that makes dumb bombs smart. It would be imprudent to initiate hostilities until the supply has been replenished.

The other constraint is weather. Saddam is all but certain to use chemical and biological weapons against U.S. troops. It's too hot in Iraq in the summer and early fall to be running around in chemical protective suits.

Instability in Saudi Arabia and instability in Iran could affect the timing and nature of war plans for Iraq. Three Saudi princes had died recently under mysterious circumstances. Canada's National Post reported July 31 what the London Observer had reported earlier, that extremists linked to al Qaeda are plotting a coup against the Saudi royal family. The trigger for a coup attempt could be the death of Saudi King Fahd, who is wasting away in a Swiss hospital.

Instability in Iran could provide a sudden opportunity. The country is on the brink of civil war. Anti-regime protests have become more bold, and the mullahs are cracking down hard. They've had to import Muslim extremists from other lands to do much of the dirty work, because of doubts about the loyalty to the regime of large elements of the army and the police.

There is a fair possibility Iran, not Iraq, will be the next target in the war on terror. War with Iraq almost certainly will mean war with Iran. Iran and Iraq fought a bloody war in the 1980s. But for the increasingly desperate mullahs, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. If we attack Iraq, Iran almost certainly will attack our shipping in the Persian Gulf.

Iran is a more consequential country than Iraq, and the greater short term danger. The Gulf War and UN sanctions have slowed Iraq's nuclear weapons program. But the Iranian reactor at Bushehr may soon come on line.

The U.S. wouldn't attack Iran out of the blue. But U.S. intervention in support of a popular uprising could be in the cards. Iran ahead of Iraq. That would be a strategic deception to rival the phantom "First Patton Army" of WWII.

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07/30/02:State Dept.'s anti-American actions
07/26/02: Journalists are making sure Americans can't differentiate between the stock market and the economy
07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
06/25/02: A good environmental scare needs two ingredients - an impending catastrophe, and someone to blame for it
06/21/02: Stirring the security pot
06/18/02: Why the military is so messed up
06/14/02: Vast majority $68.7 billion proposed for weapons will be spent on systems of little use in the war on terror
06/12/02: Bush saw them and raised them, and he's holding the aces
06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
05/31/02: So the FBI has finally caught up to our priorities?
05/29/02: Taking on common sense
05/23/02: Political terrorists
05/21/02: There is a great deal to fret about, but I've never been more optimistic
05/15/02: If there is a way for America to lose the war, Gen. Tommy Franks can find it
05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
05/07/02: Want to win the 'war on terror'? Reinstate the draft
05/03/02: An expanded NATO is needed as a counterweight to the UN and the EU
04/29/02: Islamic 'smarts'
04/26/02: Did Bush play his Aces with Abdullah wisely?
04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
04/17/02: Logical Muslim allies
04/10/02: How to guarantee an infinite Mideast war
04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
04/01/02: Why is the commander of U.S. Central Command not coming clean to the American people?
03/31/02: Dubya under attack by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred"
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
01/23/02: Toward a stronger defense at a lower cost
01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections

© 2002, Jack Kelly