Principle over Politics? The Domestic Policy of the George H. W. Bush Presidency

By Richard Himelfarb; Rosanna Perotti | Go to book overview

Questions and Answers

Howard E. Negrin, Moderator. Unfortunately, our time does not permit any discussion. Perhaps one question, if our panelists would be willing to entertain it.

Q: We’ve heard a lot about how S&T is used governmentally in the long run. I wonder if you can comment on whether S&T considerations were brought into effect during governmental crises, such as Desert Storm or Desert Shield, or something like that in the short term?

Charles M. Herzfeld: Very quickly, the answer is yes. The most important things are usually done ten years before the crisis, and it takes a while to get it all together. But there were some things during Desert Storm, for example, that happened sort of overnight. We had problems—our aircraft had problems identifying our own tanks in the dusty environment, and in fact shot at a few and killed—that’s where most of the “friendly fire” problem came from. And the ARPA people who were working for me very quickly—I mean, within several days—developed infrared identification devices that were put together and flown out. The shooting was over by the time they got there, but it was a miracle of sorts. And there were others, of course. This always happens, but you’re best off if you’ve done the right things ten years before.

Q: I specifically refer to a rumor that we had something to do with disabling Iranian radar prior to the bombing of Baghdad.

Herzfeld: Oh, sure, but that happened sort of three hours before, two hours before, and was done with very well-planned and very well-established techniques. That was not science and technology; that was just good operational art by the military.

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