The Saeculum Decoded
A Blog by Neil Howe
Oct 082010

When Boomer (born 1943-1960) GW Bush went to war, it was in traditional land-force “invasion” mode with trumpets blaring.  When Generation X (born 1961-1981) Obama goes to war, it is with multiple levels of stealth, subterfuge, and deniability.  Our assassin predator missions are way up.  Our anti-terror surrogates are training in a still-growing number of countries.  And now—to prevent or at least slow down Iran’s race to get nukes—we are apparently waging a full-scale commando assault just under the radar.  News stories report mysterious explosions in Iranian factories, odd fatal “accidents” befalling top Iranian scientists, faulty alloys showing up in imported equipment, and horribly destructive computer viruses eating away at computers in Tehran.  At some point, I suppose, Iran could just say, OK, we’ll declare war.  But what’s clever about Obama’s approach is that the Iranian leadership may figure that, to declare war without any overt and large-scale aggression, may make them look weak.  I wonder if it will work.

A great book will someday be written about this campaign.  I love the description in the article about how you attack Iranian computers that are deliberately left off the net.  You actually have to get someone to physically insert a thumb drive.  Reminds me of the final scene in “Independence Day.

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  • X America

    Aw, come on. In the first place, the NYT reporter is a reliable transmission belt for whatever anti-Iran propaganda Washington wants to pump out, much as Judith Miller was in the run-up to the Iraq war. So we have no reliable gauge to how much of this, if any, is true.

    But more to the point, subterfuge has been Washington’s MO for the entire saeculum. Ike sent Kermit Roosevelt to Tehran to wave cash around for mobs to stir up trouble and ultimately stage a coup in ’53.

    “Anti-terror surrogates” trained by Washington? Really, what’s the School of the Americas been all about for decades?

    And it’s not as if the drone attacks are somehow making Pakistanis any less pissed at Washington than if they were manned attacks.

    Understand, I’m not questioning Obama’s X credentials. But this is mighty thin supporting evidence.

  • Richardturnock

    As military history confirms, “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu defines what it takes to win – deception. Whether the traditional land invasion method or the more modern drone-cyberwar, the goal is to win. Sabotage has always been a part of warfare. Mixing the conflict with Iran up with the anti-terrorist campaign is not useful. One is a conflict with a nation-state and the other with individuals and terrorist organizations (some of which might have nation-state support).