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Assessing the war « Previous | |Next »
April 1, 2003

How is the war going? What judgements can we make now, even though we know that it will be eventually be won by the Anglo-American military. And what will the impact of the war be on the region?

Well the media are begining to take their watch dog seriously. They need to. Well, we should we say that it is the Guardian who is challenging the fictions circulated by the technocratic Enlightenment's war-machine.

This article explores the western media's frustrations with the US briefings at Central Command headquarters in Quatar, where Gen. Tommy R. Franks is overseeing the conduct of the war. There officials insist there have been no surprises, no adjustments, no supply problems and that the war is going just as they envisioned. The big US media are begining to pack up. They were promised that the media centre at Central Command was the place to get the big strategic picture, constructed from all the little pieces of information from commanders in the field and reporters assigned to military units. But the militarized Enlightenment fails to deliver on its promise to represent the truth. All that is given are brief video snapshots of the effect of precision weapons and long discursions on why information is not available.

For an alternative view to theTommy Franks 'everything is on track' view can be obtained from the latest post on this site,, which is based on Russian intelligence, gives an assessment of the high tech-war against a low tech country so far.

It also tackles several high tech myths of war. Myth I is about the precision-guided weapons as the determining factor in modern warfare, weapons that allow to achieve strategic superiority without direct contact with the enemy. Myth 2 is the superiority of the most modern weapons and inability of older-generation weapons to counteract the latest systems.

It also says that two mistakes have been made by the US command during the planning stages of this war: the US has underestimated the enemy and the
coalition force were clearly insufficient for a such a large-scale operation.

The Russians say only two mistakes. The Israelis are far less kind. They list seven.

These are reasonable asessments. Of course the war also has a political dimension fought out in terms of meaning and images. And the judgements there? This reportposes the issue nicely:

'In the allies’ Central Command HQ in Doha, they produce images to show the precision of Western bombing and the rapidity of the US push on Iraq. Walk down the road and the studios of Al-Jazeera are pumping out images of a Third World country trying vainly to fight back against a hyperpower of infinite technological superiority. There is no doubt which version most of the world believes. Even in India, where anti-Muslim feelings lie close to the surface, you don’t meet a single person who thinks this is anything other than an American enterprise fought for selfish reasons. “Why,” they ask you in genuinely concerned terms, “is Blair going along with it?”'

It says that in terms of post-Iraq Democracy in the Middle East should not be understood to presuppose pro-Americanism. Just the opposite. It then ads:

"If that is what Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney believe then they are fooling themselves, never mind anyone else. When this war is over, Washington will be faced by a single demand throughout the Middle East, including many in Iraq itself, at least among the Shiites. And that is to get out of the region as quickly as possible. And they mean weeks, not months never mind the years that the Pentagon is talking about. Whatever it may seem to Iraqis, a continuing military presence by the Americans will be seen by its neighbors as a US occupation, with all the instability and invitation to terrorism that it this will invite. Yet a prolonged occupation is seen as necessary by Washington as the only means of ensuring order in Iraq and keeping it as a unitary state."

And the assessements that go more broadly than the war itself and look at international relations? This article's political and strategic interpretation of the Iraqi war argues the case for the Iraqi war being a world hsitorical event. It says that:

"...the war on Iraq ­ despite its significance militarily, strategically and where global energy is concerned ­ was nothing but a trigger for developments that have been in the making since the end of the Cold war and the emergence of today’s unipolar world. These developments resemble birth pains accompanying the birth of a new world order. And, as is well known, the usual midwife for such births is war."

It goes on to add that:

"The Middle East, in short, is set to inherit the role played by Europe for the last 50 years ­ that of the main area for global confrontation. Through the new doctrine of pre-emption it is trying out in Iraq, the United States will seek to alter regional balances of power to its advantage; other powers ­ mainly Europe ­ will resist this to the hilt, if only to avoid becoming American satellites."

It concludes with the judgement that:

"...the United States intends to stay in the Middle East for decades. This has nothing to do with George W. Bush being re-elected or not; America will stay in the region whether it were ruled by a Republican or a Democrat. At stake are American national interests in the Middle East....Israel’s Haaretz newspaper described what is going on in the Middle East as an “earthquake” ­ an apt description for an old world in its death throes and a new one about to come to light. "

Earthquake is a good image about what is happening in Iraq as it signifies aftershocks for a long time afterwards.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:15 AM | | Comments (0)