Skip to comments.Debunking the myths of Desert Storm
Posted on 02/28/2011 4:37:18 PM PST by nuconvert
Twenty years ago today, ground op erations in Operation Desert Storm came to a halt. American arms had won their most dazzling success in two generations, perhaps ever.
After five weeks of round-the-clock air strikes, forces under Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf shattered Saddam Hussein's army, the biggest and most heavily armed in the Middle East, in just five days. The victorious 34-nation coalition lost only 392 killed, 294 of them Americans. Saddam had been driven from Kuwait; his regime teetered on collapse. A bright, new, world order seemed in the offing.
But two decades later we can see how many Americans, including our leaders, drew the wrong lessons from Desert Storm -- creating myths that haunt us to this day.
One myth is that Desert Storm was the "good war" in which America and the world drew together to defeat a tyrant, compared to the deep divisions over the more recent Iraq war.
In fact, resolutions authorizing military action in Kuwait faced fierce opposition from the likes of then-Speaker Dick Gephardt, future Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Chuck Schumer and then-Sen. Joe Biden, and passed the House and Senate by inches. The first President George Bush went ahead despite the nay-sayers and prophets of doom and the thousands of protesters chanting "no blood for oil" -- essentially the same folks who'd later brand his son a liar and war criminal.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
The terrified Saudis shamed HW Bush out of weaseling out of that treaty by having the Iraqi pillaging of Kuwait - including removal of life support equipment from hospitals with intensive care patients - broadcast in color video by the then novel 24 hour cable news networks.
In my opinion, without that footage globalist George would have left the Kuwaitis hanging. He was never a man with any sort of honor, like Juan McAmnesty his honor never made it home with him when he left the service.
The author is a NeoCon and the NeoCons resent the Realists who were in charge of GHW Bush's foreign policy and resent the success of Desert Storm.
It is made worse by the fact that the NeoCons, who were running GW Bush's foreign policy, got stuck in Iraq and the Realists took over and extricated Bush from Iraq
Not sure what this guys point is. Bush I had faults but Desert Storm was not one of them. The buildup to Desert Storm was basically flawless as wars go. He handled the whole thing very well. However he cashed his chits in too soon after the initial victory. He decided to bail out without going into Baghdad. Going into Baghdad would have involved some real loss of lives. So he stopped where he did. With hindsight of course it proved to be a mistake.
Still - he gets credit for taking the proper action to kick Sadaam out of Kuwait. Carter or Clinton wouldnt have done it. Had he taken care of business is similar fashion on domestic and other matters he might have fared better as a President. So he did one thing well but that was about it.
What part of this is a revelation?
I think it was Colin Powell who talked Bush into pulling out without getting Hussein.
He also voted for Obama.
I think you are wrong about your assumptions. As a result of Desert Storm oil prices dropped to a low of under 20 bucks/bbl. Back in the day, the problem was too low oil prices. Governments can’t make enough taxes that way. We didn’t want Iraq’s oil going on line.
Our policy has always been about price supports for oil. I think it’s because we militarily own the Saudi and Emirate oil and gas fields. We have the world’s single largest known asset on our balance sheet. We don’t want that gig to run out too soon. It’s the thing that keeps the rest of the world in line. We can cut em off whenever we get sick of it all.
That would be a good start.
>>>”One myth is that Desert Storm was the “good war” in which America and the world drew together to defeat a tyrant, compared to the deep divisions over the more recent Iraq war.”<<<
Not ‘good war’. Desert Storm was (straight) War. And it was managed quite well. Iraq (2003) was war plus introduction/embedding democracy & nation building. Democracy/Nation building in an ME country has many complications & requires direct, long term commitment/dedication, resources, detailed implementation plan & careful execution. Even then its success can be dubious.
He isn’t faulting Bush - he’s faulting Democrats at the time & the coalition of countries that agreed to work with us, but then put the brakes on before we could go after Saddam & finish the job.
The Powell Doctrine was composed prior to Desert Storm. That Doctrine lists the criteria that must be met before the US militarily intervenes and one of the major criteria is an exit strategy.
Since there was no known exit strategy for Iraq, they didn't go in.
And later, in 2003, when GW Bush and NeoCons invaded Iraq, they went in without an exit strategy, and got stuck. And in 2006, Powell pointed out very publicly that if Bush and Cheney had followed the Powell Doctrine, they wouldn't have got stuck.
And later, in 2009, Obama invoked the Powell Doctrine in Afghanistan, and that is why Obama rejected several of McChrystal's Afghanistan Plans. The exit strategy in those plans were inadequate. Finally McChrystal got it right and got his troops
To me it doesn’t matter which middle eastern despot supplies our oil, they are all nasty. That we had to have Gulf War I to support the Royal Family of Saudi was a mistake, all we have done is move their eventual overthrow down the road by a few years.
Saddam was a bad bastard but no worse than the Sheik of Kuwait or the Saudi’s (who basically bankrolled 911).
We could have let him take over Kuwait and Saudi and still purchased oil from him, it was a regional conflict and we had no business fighting the Saudi’s war.
“He decided to bail out without going into Baghdad. Going into Baghdad would have involved some real loss of lives. So he stopped where he did. With hindsight of course it proved to be a mistake.”
You are correct, it was a mistake, but it was the sort of decision where if he made it the other way, other mistakes would have been made, and he’d have gotten the critiques far worse.
For example, we didnt know he had a nuke program until a bit after the war. We didnt know his position was precarious and he could have been toppled easily, etc.
We do too little, and bad guys live on to cause more trouble. We do too much, and we ‘own’ the messes of the world. GHWBush knew the limits of American power and avoided the kind of ‘entanglements’ that his son ended up getting into, forced to finish the job left unfinished in 1991. Life has its ironies.
Is this what passes for an article in that paper? I’ve seen better vanities on FR.
The payoff comes at the end of this article:
“...Wars also require a moral commitment to victory, a stoic endurance and patience at home as well as abroad. Desert Storm made the burden seem easy; when the Iraq campaign failed to be a rerun of 1991, many Americans asked for their ticket-money back. What they needed instead was a dose of sober realism about what our military could do after years of Clinton budget cuts, and how long it would take.”
“Desert Storm was the last hurrah of a military fed on Cold War budgets...”
“The army sent to fight in Iraq was the surviving shadow of that Desert Storm force. It’s still fighting for us in Afghanistan — yet politicians in Washington say we need to put it on an even stricter diet.”
“Don’t believe it. To those who served in Desert Storm, we owe a tremendous debt and thanks. To those who come after them, we owe them the tools to do the job — any job — we ask of them.
“That should be the true lesson of Desert Storm.”
If I recall history correctly, Bush got the unprecedented international coalition together to support the specific mission of removing Saddam Hussein’s troops from Kuwait. There was not approval to remove him from Baghdad. In retrospect, it is easy to make a call that such should have been done.
“If I recall history correctly, Bush got the unprecedented international coalition together to support the specific mission of removing Saddam Husseins troops from Kuwait. There was not approval to remove him from Baghdad.”
“In my opinion, without that footage globalist George would have left the Kuwaitis hanging. He was never a man with any sort of honor, like Juan McAmnesty his honor never made it home with him when he left the service.”
Well, your opinion is wrong. President G.H.W. Bush was not as conservative as President Reagan, but he was and is an honorable man, as is President G.W. Bush. I have served in a military status under Presidents Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, and G.W. Bush (I won’t mention some less desirable presidents) and was proud to do so, and would do so again.
I, and hopefully I’m not alone, won’t stand for aperson recklessly denigrating any of these three. Each had good and bad, but each was worth showing respect and honor.