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Shock and Awe Offensive

Shock and awe offensive is a term that was popularized in March 2003, when it was used to describe the aerial bombing campaign that preceded the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The term was coined by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in their 1996 book Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance. Ullman and Wade argued in 1996 that the United States had a dominant position in the world due to its military capability. Military capability would allow the United States to achieve “rapid dominance” over its adversaries in war. The idea was that weapons systems could be used by the United States to impose shock and awe on its adversaries and eliminate an adversary’s will to carry on. This entry discusses the background, ...

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