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March 19, 2003

Hmph. Something else occurred to me.

Going back to my days in the Army.... When our unit was deployed in the field on a mission - whether a training mission or a "live" mission, we followed the old custom of holding "stand to".

The term "stand to" is verbal shorthand for "stand to your posts." Every day, for a half-hour before and after sunrise and sunset (well, BMNT and EENT really - see this glossary), every man takes up his weapon and assumes his defensive position - be it a foxhole, or merely behind some stacked sandbags.

These hours are critical. Tradition says - and history tends to bear out - that attacks come during these hours of low visibility.

Apply this to what happened in Baghdad this morning. Consider that the deadline given to Saddam was 0400 hrs Baghdad time. Almost assuredly, Iraqi forces went on alert somewhat before that, and probably stood down as the sun came up and they realized that no waves of bombers were going to be striking.

Imagine their surprise.

Of course, surprise is the whole point. Obviously, there can be no strategic surprise - anyone who doesn't by now know that the Yanks are coming is either deaf, blind, irretrievably ignorant, or any combination thereof.

There really isn't any "operational" surprise either - or not much, anyway. The objectives the US and allied commanders want to achieve in the field are pretty well known already - there are a limited number of possible objectives, and frankly, the only surprise is likely to be which ones will be sought and on what schedule.

That leaves tactical surprise. All I can say is, so far so good. Give 'em hell, boys.

Posted by Russ at 11:56 PM, March 19, 2003 in Nat'l Security

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