Gregory Alan Bolcer gbolcer at
Wed Apr 9 14:31:26 PDT 2003

I think the whole point everyone misses about
shock and awe is that it's not supposed to be
an overwhelming wave of destruction, but hitting
the absolute worst possible target at the worst
possible time to inflict at much mindf as
possible.  I think it all goes back to the
efficiency versus effectiveness arguement.
Terror is effective, shock & awe is efficient.


James Rogers wrote:
> From: Joseph S Barrera III
>>What exactly is the difference between
>>"Terror" and "Shock and Awe"?
> It is unfortunate that the talking heads latched on to the term "Shock and
> Awe" and that the DoD politicians used it.  The term comes from a paper
> published a number of years ago on maximizing the psychological component of
> offensive combat operations.  I saw an interview with one of the authors of
> the paper who said he wished they had used another term in the paper because
> it sounds absurd in the context it is currently being used in the popular
> media.  Despite the term, it does not imply grossly visual Hollywood-style
> combat scenarios.
> The difference between "terror" and "shock and awe" is somewhat subtle.
> "Shock and Awe" is a mindfuck where the enemy combatant feels utterly
> overwhelmed BUT they do not feel cornered or see the obvious inevitability
> of their own death.  The trick is to create a battlefield environment where
> most of the enemy combatants feel that they have the reasonable option of
> escaping the overwhelming wave of destruction.  In short, you attempt to
> trigger the strongest fight-or-flight response possible, and you do so in a
> combat environment intentionally biased to make flight an attractive and
> reasonable option, thereby minimizing the amount of actual "fight" that the
> enemy soldiers decide to give.
> "Terror" is designed to engender fear that is disproportionate to the
> threat.  It is not generally intended to bias the fight-or-flight response
> on the battlefield in any particularly manner, and historically has been an
> unreliable tool on the battlefield and arguably counter-productive.  
>>Didn't we experience "Shock and Awe"
>>when the Twin Towers collapsed?
> Technically, no.  The closest attempted analog in American history would be
> Pearl Harbor.
> Cheers,
> -James Rogers
>  jamesr at

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