New Delhi, Aug 26: Imagine someone predicting the
9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in the US two years
before the terror strike!
Such a forecast was part of an analysis of the weaknesses
of the American military system by two Chinese military
planners, who also identified Osama bin Laden as one of the
likely perpetrators of a possible attack.
The officials, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, who were in
service at that time, made the forecast in the book
"unrestricted warfare" written in 1999, which has now been
published in India, several years after being translated into
English for the CIA, the defence intelligence agency and other
US national security departments.
The officials, who were then senior colonels, said,
"Actually, with the next century having still not yet arrived,
the American military has already encountered trouble from
insufficient frequency bandwidth brought on by
the above-mentioned types of enemies.
Whether it be the intrusion of hackers, a major explosion
at the World Trade Center, or a bombing attack by (Osama) bin
Laden, all of these greatly exceed the frequency bandwidths
understood by the American military.
The American military is naturally inadequately
prepared to deal with this type of enemy psychologically, in
terms of measures and especially as regards military thinking
and the methods of operation derived from this," they said.
The US was an area of major focus in the book, which
proposed tactics for developing countries like China and
measures to compensate for their military inferiority
vis-a-vis America in a possible hi-tech war.
Writing about war between two developed nations, the two
Chinese planners noted that satellite reconnaissance,
electronic counter-measures and large-scale air attacks behind
enemy lines were all "traditional" methods.
"However, by using the combination method, a completely
different scenario and game can occur," Qiao and Wang said,
providing a different perception of a future war.
They said the attacking side could "secretly muster large
amounts of capital without the enemy nation being aware of
this at all" and launch a sneak attack against the opponent's
financial markets. After causing a financial crisis, the
attacker could also bury "a computer virus and hacker
detachment in the opponent's computer system in advance".
Simultaneously, the attacking nation could carry out a
network attack against the enemy so that the civilian
electricity, traffic dispatching and mass media networks are
This, the two senior colonels said, would "cause the
enemy nation to fall into social panic, street riots, and a
political crisis. There is finally the bearing down of the
Army and military means are utilised in gradual stages until
the enemy is forced to sign a dishonourable peace treaty."
The Chinese officials analysed various war scenarios and
drew lessons from present-day conflicts as well as the great
military strategists China produced in the past.
First Published: Sunday, August 26, 2007, 00:00