Gulf War of 1991. The writer explores the history, the cause, and the war itself. The writer uses several sources to illustrate what the U.S. government bas dints decision to go to war on and how well received that decision was by the American public.
As the U.S. gears up for a probable attack on Iraq American minds turn back the hands of time to 1991 and the Gulf War. The war became nicknamed "Desert Storm" and that is exactly what it turned out to be. A storm that raged across the desert with such force it quelled any hope of defense from the Iraqi Army. Desert Storm was one of the shortest wars in history but it showed the world that the U.S. has not become a complacent party to wrongs committed by others. It demonstrated the strength and veracity by which America is capable of flexing its power when it feels a message is needed. The Gulf War reminded the world that the U.S. And its allies are still able to defend what they feel is right and do so as a force to be reckoned with.
Before one can begin to understand the war and its aftereffects one must first have an understanding of the events that led up to the war being waged.
The war itself lasted 100 days but the ramifications and meaning behind the war lasted many years. It began with Saddam Hussein accusing Kuwait of oil overproduction and of stealing oil from oil field owned by Iraq.
Hussein turned to the U.S. For assistance and was told by the U.S. ambassador it was an Arab problem and not one the U.S. would get involved in. Hussein took matters into his own hands and invaded Kuwait which triggered the U.S. To freeze all assets of Kuwait and Iraq it held within its possession (Gulf War http://www.desert-storm.com/War/chronology.html).The United Nations asked Hussein to withdraw and was ignored, which then triggered UN economic sanctions against Iraq. The U.S. Secretary of defense was sent to the area to see if a peaceful solution could be reached. It was not a successful trip and in August 1990 Iraq used force to annex Kuwait. The UN then called meeting in which it stated the actions of Iraq did not comply with UN policies and standards and that the annexation was not valid. Later that month the president began to call up military troops which told the U.S. And the world the U.S. was getting ready for conflict if it came to that. The UN took the steps necessary to okay military force if needed and in response Iraq the stormed diplomatic missions in Kuwait City. These actions led to Bush ordering more deployments and provide the troops with the right to use an offensive option (Gulf War http://www.desert-storm.com/War/chronology.html).The Democratic Party filed a suit that demanded President Bush go through Congress and get permission for war before proceeding further in his actions. The suit was thrown out because a president does not have to have the approval of Congress to go to war though it is usually a politically smart thing to do. The UN Council choose January 15 as a deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait or risk attack. Between November and January several international meetings took place to try and avoid a war to no avail. At this point it was more than the fact that Iraq had invaded Kuwait, but it was now about Iraq ignoring the UN directives which it had agreed to abide by just as the other world nations have done. On January 12 Congress voted to use U.S. troops for force in offensive operations if needed (Gulf War http://www.desert-storm.com/War/chronology.html).
On January 16th this statement went round the world as the missiles slammed into their intended targets:"The liberation of Kuwait has begun... (Gulf War http://www.desert-storm.com/War/chronology.html)"
The war lasted one hundred days and was over as quickly as it had begun.
When the war was over the president of the United States, Senior George Bush commended the soldiers on their diligence and care in carrying out what he referred to as God's work. "You have all made the day for the country with this fantastic service," the president told the troops at a short ceremony in the U.S. Embassy compound. "All of you who serve ought to be very proud of this significantly new role... "This is a great humanitarian mission," he said to cheers and whistles, "and you are doing it in A-1 style (Olojede, 1993)."
For the first time since the Korean War the veteran of America and the president who sent them to the desert were fully supported by their American peers. It was a war that took very little time but helped restore the national pride that America seems to have lost since the Vietnam conflict took 13 years of its energy.
The war in the gulf began on January 17, 1991. It was dark and quiet at 3:01 in the morning in Baghdad when a Tomahawk cruise missile met its mark. The missile slammed into the target with the message war had been declared. The war was against one man and his penchant for occupying Kuwait. The war came six months after America's media giants named Saddam Hussein "The Most Dangerous Man in the World (Olojede, 1993)."
The images were piped into living rooms around the world. Iraqi soldiers crawling out of the desert sand and begging to surrender. They were hit with such force they had no clue how to formulate a response (Cary, 1992). The media shot video of soldiers surrendering to the film crews that were there with press passes. They were filmed climbing into takes and begging to be taken as prisoners of war. They were hungry, they were scared and they were ready to give up almost from the minute the war began (Cary, 1992).
The war lasted 100 hours and for all intents and purposes was a one sided fight with very little resistance (Cary, 1992).
The Marines began the ground campaign, and they set the pace for it. While other units to the west of them prepared to move north through thin defenses or unoccupied desert, the 1st and 2nd U.S. Marine Divisions charged into the most heavily defended Iraqi lines in southern Kuwait (Cary, 1992). In fact, the 2nd Marine Division chose the toughest part of Iraq's defenses as its breach point, thinking the Iraqis would never expect an attack there. Had they gotten hung up or been pushed back, Desert Storm might have been a much different campaign (Cary, 1992)."
The events leading to the war included Iraqis invasion and occupation of Kuwait (Galloway, 1992). The Iraqi leader, Hussein was asked several times by several nations to withdraw his troops and let Kuwait live in peace. The pleas fell on deaf ears (Galloway, 1992). There are some who believe the United States and its allies were more concerned about what Hussein's grip on Kuwait meant to the future oil needs and business for the Western World (Galloway, 1992). Regardless of the bottom line Hussein refused to give up his occupation of Kuwait and the war was begun from there. In addition to the military occupation of Kuwait there were other concerns regarding the actions of Hussein (Galloway, 1992).
It was suspected and later proven that Hussein had ordered the torture and execution of thousands who opposed his regime and beliefs. Sanctions came from the revelation that was stronger than the sanctions the war brought about (Galloway, 1992).
The war was so successful and so short that the biggest problem seemed to be difficulty in communicating (Galloway, 1992). There are reports of fuel plans being mis-communicated and American ground tanks having to rush back to refuel before moving forward again in the efforts (Galloway, 1992).
The war ended before the majority of Hussein's army could be taken out. When pressed as to why the president offered the UN as the reason. The United Nations refused to give the U.S. And its allies permission to roll over Baghdad and remove the troops. Had the U.S. done so anyway the allies would have abandoned the U.S. And the UN would have been angry. It was best to accomplish only what the UN sanctioned and leave the rest for later debates according to the president. It was a decision the Americans supported (Duffy, 1993).
Another reason the war was successful from a nationalism standpoint is that it allowed America to flex its muscles and remind the world it is the last standing Superpower on earth. General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said it all when he made this public statement:"I want to be the biggest bully on the block." Large, highly capable forces are likely to make aggressors think twice about risking a fight with the U.S. And if a fight does break out, overwhelming American power might end it quickly (Nelan, 1992)."