MISUNDERSTOOD

Harlan Ullman, the originator of the phrase “shock and awe,” says the concept has been misinterpreted by the media.

The public misunderstood our concept of shock and awe — and so, perhaps, did the Pentagon. Our concept calls for a 360-degree, non-stop campaign using all elements of power to coerce the enemy regime into succumbing rapidly and decisively. That has not happened in this war for two major reasons: The opportunity to target Saddam accelerated the war’s start before all of the military elements were in place, and the decision to pause to see whether Saddam’s generals would choose not to fight tempered the intensity of the initial onslaught. The administration’s version of shock and awe has turned out to be a strategic air campaign and quick ground advance. This plan soon will defeat Saddam’s regime, overwhelmingly, as it now appears, but it did not cause its immediate collapse.

He goes on to explain how a true “shock and awe” campaign would have looked.

(Hat tip: RealClear Politics)

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.