Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Saddam Gets His First Taste of Cyber Warfare

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Saddam Gets His First Taste of Cyber Warfare

Article excerpt


THE OPENING strike against Baghdad came out of the new American textbook of war. It was a pre-emptive surprise attack against targets selected by spy planes and satellites and struck by smart bombs and missiles.

George Bush's administration has long advocated the doctrine of pre-emptive strike, first made public in the New Strategic Doctrine a year ago. The President warned Saddam Hussein that America might attack before the 48-hour deadline was up if he showed no sign of complying with Washington's ultimatum.

The targets appear to have been key command centres and bunkers where Saddam and his family have been sheltering. The raids emphasise the main objective, to overthrow and destroy the regime and person of Saddam.

When this purpose was spelled out by Tony Blair in the Commons yesterday, it was as if he was reading from a carefully worded mission statement. Today's attacks were carried out by the new techniques of "network-centric warfare".

This is the web of surveillance vehicles, drones, spy planes, and satellites continuously processing information. This is then passed rapidly to command centres and "shooters" - ships and aircraft.

Most of the battle will have been controlled from the joint allied command under General Tommy Franks in Qatar. The battle is plotted on digital displays in the tented HQ.

The purpose of these first strikes will have been psychological as much as physical. The Americans wanted to show Saddam and his entourage that they can have no hiding place.

The second phase began with artillery strikes on selected targets by British and American guns on the Kuwait border. Again electronic surveillance is the key. At dawn, allied drones flew out over Iraqi lines to spot their positions.

Guns then fired on them selectively.

The British troops of the 7th Armoured Brigade, the Desert Rats, 16 Air Assault paratroopers and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines are now moving to their start lines - but many could be held back for hours. …

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