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WAR ON TERRORISM -
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Shades of D-Day, As Pentagon Preps NATO Allies for 'Planetary Objectives'

Posted in the database on Thursday, July 14th, 2005 @ 11:25:37 MST (6639 views)
from L'EXPRESS.fr  

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U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia

Unable to soldier on alone, at America's massive Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia, the U.S. military is preparing its partners in the Atlantic Alliance for the battles to come in Washington's 'interminable war on terror.'

Norfolk, Virginia: At the world’s biggest military port in Virginia, the objective of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] is to confront the new dangers that threaten Washington and its allies. Amassed there is an impressive war machine that combines very high technology and reinforces international cooperation.

Far, very far, from the bloody attacks in London, the fatal ambushes in Baghdad and the disappointments in Kabul, the gigantic American war machine hones its weaponry for the battles to come in its interminable global war on terror (GWOT in military jargon). But this activity, which takes place in the peaceful, touristy state of Virginia, also involves Washington’s allies. The 25 countries of the Atlantic alliance are working alongside the hyperpower on transforming NATO, in order to adapt it to its new challenges.


U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia

SHADOWS OF D-DAY

These duel strategic objectives are being addresses at Norfolk – the largest U.S. Naval base but also the largest military port in the world – by making preparations, the extent of which calls to mind, 60-years-ago, D-Day! Of course, this time the American armada is not on course for the Normandy coast. In fact, it is the entire planet that the United States intends to watch closely with its partners in the Alliance, to be ready for any new and unpleasant surprise from all types of fanatics. The carnage perpetrated in the heart of the British capital on the morning of July 7, very likely by Islamist terrorists, only confirms the absolute necessity, notably for the West, to be on constant guard. Hence the mobilization of 600 U.S. Naval vessels that, along with aircraft carriers, allows “access anywhere in the world, but without leaving a trace …”

“It is up to God to judge Bin Laden, but it is up to us to arrange their meeting,” a sign reminds Marines boarding the amphibious assault ship, the USS Iwo Jima. The same motivating discourse of waging the GWOT is present in the control tower that dominates the airstrip on the floating airport [the Iwo Jima]. Painted in large black letters is advice meant for the pilots and crews of planes and helicopters: “Why we are here.” What are listed are the names and dates of places of pain and anger for all Americans: October 23, 1983, Marine headquarters in Beirut, 241 dead … December 21, 1988, Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, 259 dead … October 12, 2000, Destroyer USS Cole in Aden, 17 dead … September 11, 2001, World Trade Center, 2,752 dead … This litany of attacks that have hit the United States over the last 20 years have the effect, when necessary, of stirring up the war-like ardor of even the least bellicose of Marines.

“Before, we knew only the threat of the great Soviet bear. Today, it is a matter of exporting security very far from our borders and our bases. This requires, from all NATO countries, greater flexibility but also perfect cooperation and complementarity,” stressed Lieutenant-General Michel Maisonnueve. With a crew cut, a little mustache and an athletic build, this Canadian officer is the staff captain at the headquarters for the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation established in Norfolk. The fact that this very high position is occupied by a non-American is intended as an example of the necessity of “interoperability,” as NATO workers call it. Similarly, a British citizen is the second in command on the Iwo Jima aircraft carrier. There is also a French Lieutenant-Colonel on this giant ship, originally trained as a Mirage pilot, and a German among the top-ranking officers on board.

“The problems posed by security in the 21st century cannot be resolved by one nation alone, no matter how powerful it may be,” said Jack Klevecz, head of the International Programs Division at the headquarters, in Norfolk, of the United States Joint Forces Command. This American civilian with a bald head seems both in appearance and in his futuristic discourse, as if he just stepped out of a James Bond movie. His job is to conceive of the most sophisticated means of winning tomorrow’s wars. One of his gadgets would thrill any teen fond of war games.

“We can virtually reproduce the exact battle conditions of an urban zone, taking into account the environment, real-time climatic conditions, etc. Thus, it can be a Baghdad neighborhood in three dimensions, with its specific buildings and streets, its hospital and its school …” he said. Having just returned from Iraq, Colonel Chris Conlin ensures that the software simulation will train the Marines in the best way possible to face situations that “because of a single terrorist, can suddenly become totally chaotic.”

On June 28, George W. Bush, with some humility, celebrated the first anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqi civilian authorities. As more than 1,700 American soldiers have died since the fall of Saddam Hussein, it would be wise to reserve any quick assessment about the efficacy of these avant-garde technologies. But it is hard not to be impressed when visiting the very restricted operations rooms that hold some 150 computer screens for warfighting experiments, the immense hangars obscured by blue light where, transformed by technology, a fleet of phosphorescent models maneuver and simulators that cost tens of thousands of dollars allow soldiers to learn to land on an aircraft carrier at sea.


Amphibious Assualt Ship USS Iwo Jima

PLANETARY OBJECTIVES

Weakened by its Iraqi adventure and handicapped by recruiting difficulties, the American military remains a colossus next to which no other member of the Atlantic alliance can hope to compare. But given the planetary objectives of the global war on terror – and since Article 5 of the Treaty of Washington was invoked on September 12, 2001 stipulating that “an armed attack against one or numerous members of NATO will be considered an attack against all” – it remains imperative for the Alliance to quickly transform its intervention capabilities, its chain of command and its materials.

“Our transformation policy is not something theoretical; it is the transformation of anything that could lead to better security in the West tomorrow. And it is urgent,” said Steven, a U.S. Naval officer sent to Norfolk a few days ago to work with NATO. The tragedy in London on July 7, unfortunately, proves him right.



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