The U.S. military's lightning defeat of Iraq could
serve as a model for a similar campaign against Iran, North Korea or Syria.
A report said the U.S. victory in Iraq has bolstered the doctrine of
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that Washington can quickly
attack a rogue state in a relatively cost-free military operation. The
report said this could serve as a model for regime changes in several of
"Possible preemptive attacks against Syria, Iran, and North Korea are
in," a report by senior researcher Michael O'Hanlon of the Washington-based Brookings Institution said. "Long-term
great-power competition against China is likely. Future warfare will be
characterized more by space, missile, naval, and air-power operations than
the ground armies of old."
The report was released as several leading members of Congress have refused to rule out a U.S.
strike on either Iran or Syria. They said the U.S. military has becoming
increasingly emboldened into entering Syrian air space to strike suspected leaders of the
regime of Saddam Hussein, Middle East Newsline reported.
On Monday, President George Bush again accused Iran and Syria of
remaining sponsors of terrorist groups. Bush warned that the two countries
would be held accountable for the actions.
"Today, Syria and Iran continue to harbor and assist terrorists," Bush
said. "This behavior is completely unacceptable and states that support
terror will be held accountable."
Rumsfeld, the report said, is regarded as one of the most influential
Cabinet secretaries since Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the early
1970s. Rumsfeld's advocacy of special operations units, high technology and
flexible tactics could replace the doctrine of overwhelming force formed by
then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell, in the
1991 Gulf war.
O'Hanlon said U.S. special operations gave an impressive performance,
with dozens of small special operations teams disrupting Iraqi command and
control, seizing oil infrastructure, preventing dams from being demolished,
and capturing of airfields in regions where Scud missiles might have been
launched toward Israel. The report said special operations and intelligence
units also appear to have disrupted Iraqi lines of communication in Baghdad
that helped hasten the capture of the city.
"These operations were brave, creative, and effective," the report said.
"They also prevented some nightmare scenarios."
The report also cited the U.S. military's success in tracking Iraqi
forces in all weather and at any hour. Moreover, U.S. air and ground forces
also showed a high level of coordination in defeating the Republican Guard
divisions south of Baghdad. The report called the capture of Baghdad and
Basra an operation that combined "genuine cleverness and creativity."
"On balance, the main pillars of the coalition's success in Iraq Ñ new
technology and traditional skills Ñ provided a remarkable pair of
capabilities," the report said. "In terms of equipment, of particular note
were the all-weather reconnaissance systems, all-weather bombs, and modern
communications networks developed in the last decade. In addition, one is
struck by the competence of American and British troops and their
commanders, and the excellence of their doctrine and training. Indeed,
old-fashioned tanks performed extremely well, and urban combat operations
were executed magnificently."