Washington shifts strategy away from "Shock and Awe"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Military planners in Washington have grudgingly admitted their "Shock and Awe" air campaign has not been entirely effective. It was hoped several nights of sustained bombing would cause Iraqi generals and elite troops defending their homeland from foreign subjugation to simply give up and accept an American military government.

"We've scaled back our Shock and Awe campaign," said Joint Chiefs Vice Director Maj. Gen. Overs Sanguine. "Instead we're implementing a back up strategy called Concern and Miff."

Gen. Sanguine, standing before several aerial photos of buildings destroyed by cruise missiles and F-117 Stealth Fighter strikes, explained during his daily press briefing why Shock and Awe has had mixed results.

"Our plan was to eliminate key Iraqi command and control elements. Night bombing raids were meant to take out government buildings and Baathist Party office complexes in downtown Baghdad and decimate their leadership. But apparently, no one in Baghdad works at night. Aside from cleaning staff, it turns out most of those buildings were empty when we blew them up."

Gen. Sanguine added the recent surrender of Local 410 of the Union of Iraqi Custodial Workers in Basra is evidence that Saddam is losing control of his infrastructure, if not his ability to keep offices tidy.

British Royal Marine Major Archibald Trebuchet described it as "the mother of all walk outs". "They threw down their mops without a fight. Poor sods were even more demoralized than a Thatcher-era British coal miner."

An unnamed government source offered a more candid explanation why Shock and Awe did not achieve desired results. The source indicated CIA analysts failed to learn that most Iraqi government workers keep a 9-5 schedule and rarely, if ever, work at night.

"Many Iraqi government employees actually clock out around 4:30 pm," stated another highly placed confidential source within Baghdad itself.

Despite Shock and Awe's apparent failure, Gen. Sanguine is resolute in his assertion that Concern and Miff has already achieved its goals.

"Those government workers no longer have day jobs," stated Gen. Sanguine and then added after a brief pause "Or desks. If your job was in doubt, wouldn't you be concerned? And if you saw your office building leveled, wouldn't you be miffed knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that your Dilbert mug was no more? I remember once I accidentally broke my secretary's Edvard Munch The Scream coffee tumbler and she made sure my photocopy jobs went to the bottom of her In Box pile for weeks after."