War,justifiable or not, is complete madness. It is hell. No matter what thecause,or what the reason is, war remains mankinds greatest source oftragedy,the plague of mankind, and the plague of this country. Our countryhasexisted for only 200 years, a relatively short time, and already we havebeeninvolved in over eleven major wars. Four have been fought this lastfiftyyears. We are a nation of freedom, but we are also a nation of strongmilitarypresence.
Our reasons for going to war have differed little frommostnations. Political, social, and economic factors working alone or witheachother lead us into all of our conflicts. A drive for independencebroughton the Revolutionary war. A common fear of living in a dividedsocietycreated the Civil War.
The need to bring down an aggressive nationtookthe United States into the Korean War. And territorial disputes laybehindthe Mexican-American and American Indian Wars. Like most countries,theUnited States, at different periods, has been victimized by the darkforcesof war. Though reasons (or excuses) the American people have been givento theAmerican people to justify military action were given before mostof ourwars, not every war has been popular. Ever since the RevolutionaryWar upuntil the Vietnam War, and even through to the Gulf War, publicsupport hassequentially increased or decreased.Order now
For example, less thanhalf of the earlycolonists backed Americas war of independence. 1 Accordingto historians,more than one third wanted to maintain their status ofcolonists. 2 During theSpanish-American War, such a strong anti-war moodwas being expressed by theAmerican people, the Democratic party madecondemning the war a major part oftheir election campaign. More recently,the Vietnam War divided the nationlike no other conflict had since theCivil War. Yet, there have been some wars that have attained much support,and much haseven given people pride and joy. How ironic, and morbid,that a war couldgive a person feelings of joy or pride.
World War Iand World War II wereincredibly popular, since people thought the basisof democracy was at stake. During both wars, people were so committedto winning the war, and had such asense of self-sacrifice, our nationshowed incredible unity for such adiverse country. Support for foodand fuel rationing was overwhelming, highrates of enlisted volunteers,purchases of war bonds, and countless othertypes of voluntary actionswere characteristic of the times. Most recently,the Persian Gulf Warshowed to be one of this countrys more popular wars,despite the factwe, as a land mass, were never directly endangered. Thousands showedup for rallies to send off the troops. Tens of thousands ofindividualsand families across the nation sent packages of food, clothes,cassettes,CDs, suntan oil, and even cosmetics.
Some wrote letters to unknownsoldiersin the front line, and gave them their best wishes. In fact, mostpublicopinion polls showed that about 90 percent of all Americans approvedofthe Gulf War. 3This paper covers in detail the history of Iraqs involvementin the eventsleading to the war in the Persian Gulf, the involvementof the United States,and the main events that took place in OperationDesert Shield and DesertStorm. For centuries, the Middle Easthas been one of the most important, mostargued about, and most foughtover areas of the world. One reason for this istheir strategic location.
Since it lies at what many call the crossroads ofthree continents-Europe, Asia and Africa- people of these continents oftenhad to crossthrough the Middle East to establish military and trade routes. To protectthese routes, other nations took the advantage of conquering andcontrollinga nearby Middle Eastern country. An addition to the Middle Eastbeinga very strategic area, it is also an area that has been plagued byhostilityand opposition for centuries. Among the most recognized and mostrelevantof these is the Arab-Israeli conflict.
On May 14, 1948, an announcementfrom Palestine shocked the world. DavidBenGurion, leader of the Jewishforces, announced the establishment of thenation of Israel. The Jewshad decided to declare their independence beforethe UN officially grantedit. By doing this, the Jews were able to postponethe UN decision todivide Palestine and had more control over Israel. TheUnited Statesimmediately recognized the new state. The Soviet Union and mostotherUN nations recognized it as well.
Just as quickly, the members of theArabLeague declared war on Israel. Armies from six Arab nations marched intoPalestine. Theresulting 1948 Arab-Israeli War lasted less than eight months. Eventhoughthe combined population of the Arab nations was over four times largerthanthat of Israel, the Israelis won an astounding victory.
In the war,Israeliforces succeeded in capturing some of the land that the UN providedtothe Arabs. In January 1949, Israel controlled 30 percent more land thattheUN originally assigned to them. Thousands of Arabs that lived on thislandbecame refugees or had to live under Israeli rule. The problem of whattodo about these displaced Palestinians has been a weak point to any typeofMiddle Eastern peace ever since.
Angry and humiliated over theirdefeat, many Arabs criticized the UnitedStates for recognizing and supportingIsrael during the 1948 war. Thus beginsthe conflict. Convinced thatthe United States would continue to back andsupport Israel, severalArab nations turned to the Soviet Union for militaryand economic aid. The Soviets agreed and supplied them with weapons andmoney.
In orderto limit Soviet actions in this region, as well as assistIsrael, theUnited States became more allied with Israel and more involved inMiddleEast affairs. When the Arabs raised oil prices in the 1970s, some MiddleEastern countriesgrew quite wealthy. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait,which Britain grantedindependence in 1961, benefited enormously fromgrowing oil profits. Theincrease in wealth also increased tensions amongthe oil-producing nationsthemselves. For instance, both Iraq and itsneighbor Iran wanted to controloil shipping in the Persian Gulf.
Thisrivalry reopened an old Iraqi-Iraniandispute. Since the 1800s, Iraqisand Iranians had argued and fought over the Shattal-Arab waterway onthe northern edge of the Persian Gulf. Important totrade, the waterwaywas essential to the economics of both countries. In1979, the disputegot out of hand, and each side threatened the other. OnSeptember 17,1980, Iraqs president Saddam Hussein claimed complete controlof theShatt al-Arab and ordered all Iranian ships to leave.
Five days later,Iraqitroops invaded Iran and destroyed key Iranian oil installations. TheIranianscounter-attacked, blowing up many Iraqi oil facilities. The eightyearwar that followed was the bloodiest yet seen in the Middle East. Anestimatedone million people were killed in the conflict. Both sides launchedmissileattacks against one another, and both used chemical weapons on thebattlefield. The Iraq-Iran war left a huge financial burden on Iraq.
They hadbuiltup the largest military force in the middle east, and had spent a lotofmoney in the process- much of it borrowed. They spent over five hundredbilliondollars creating their army and militant arsenal. By 1990, thecountrywas heavily in debt, and Saddam Hussein needed money badly. He wantedtofind a way to eliminate Iraqs debts, expand the countrys economy, andgaincontrol of the Persian Gulf, all at once. The strategy he chose toachievethese goals would soon put his people and the people of many othernationsinto another disastrous war. Saddam first attempted to raise Iraqsincome by increasing the price ofoil.
Early in 1990, he demanded thatall OPEC members reduce their prices. But some of the members, notablyKuwait, refused to raise their prices forfear of loosing customers. Without the support of OPEC, he could not raisehis prices, thus he couldnot make more money. Saddam became increasinglyangry at Kuwait. He alsowanted to decrease his war debts. He demanded thatKuwait cancel Iraqsdebt of billions of dollars.
He said the Kuwaitis shoulddo this in gratitudeto Iraq for stopping the Iranians from overtaking Kuwaitduring the war. The Kuwaitis pointed out that Iran never tried to takeKuwait. They ignoredSaddams demands and told Iraq to pay their debts. Saddam was now quiteirritated with Kuwait. At an Arab conference, he againdemanded moneyfrom the Kuwaitis. They very bluntly refused.
If they dontgive itto me, he told an Arab diplomat, Im going to take it from them. 4Ashe thought about it, Saddam realized that taking over Kuwait would benefitIraqin a number of ways. It would give them access to the rich Kuwaiti oilwells,it would get him the money to get Iraq going once again, and it wouldincreasehis sales of oil. Most importantly to Saddam, it would give himpower.
At2:00 A. M. on August 2, 1990, the powerful Iraqi army launched a suddenandmassive attack on Kuwait. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers crossed over theborder. They quickly overtook a small force of Kuwaiti border guards,Kuwaitsonly defense. Iraq had penetrated deep into Kuwait, and bynightfall,had overtaken the capital, Kuwait City.
This sudden move had definitelygotten the attention of the world, theUnited States in particular. TheUS, along with many other nations and theUN, imposed strong embargoeson Iraq, and the US even sent the aircraftcarrier USS Independence tothe Gulf. The US, France, and Britain froze allIraqi money, so as notto let Iraq make profits. The Soviet Union enforcedtheir embargoes onIraqi, ironically.
Saddam Hussein had not expected such ahuge internationalopposition to his actions. Especially from nations likethe US, France,and the Soviet Union. Leaving Kuwait, he thought, and givinginto thedemands to pull out, would only damage his image further. He was nowseenas an aggressor, but if he took his troops out, he would been seen asweakand cowardly. This is exactly what Saddam did not want. On August 7,1990, President Bush announced that he was ordering troops toSaudi Arabia.
This will not stand. He told reporters at a press conference. Thiswill not stand, this aggression against Kuwait. Bush dubbed thedefensiveaction Desert Shield.
He immediately sentd more than 50,000 UStroopsand put an additional 100,000 on hold. Within hours, F-15 fighterplanesand paratroopers were on their way to the Middle East. Specialradar-equippedplanes called AWACs and huge B-52 bombers also arrivedshortly. Countlessother aircraft, carriers, and tanks were sent to theMiddle East. TheArab League had now split into those against Iraq, and those with him. PresidentBush again demanded Saddam Hussein back out of Kuwait and removehistroops.
Saddam refused, and told the world he would never leave Kuwaitunlessthe Israelis withdrew from the territories they took in the 1967 and1973wars. Western and Arabs officials recognized this announcement as anattemptby Saddam to lift his image with Arabs, who hated Israel. Saddam feltthatlinking the Israelis with his invasion of Kuwait would win the supportofthe Arabs. Most Arab nations, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, dismissed thisannouncement.
OnAugust 17, 1990, the Iraqis acted on their plans against the nation ofKuwait. US, British, and other foreign citizens were not allowed to leaveIraqor Kuwait. An Iraqi spokesperson said that they would stay as long asIraqremains threatened with an aggressive war. 5 Saddam said he would freetheforeigners if the United States got out of Saudi Arabia. Three days laterhestarted moving the citizens into industrial buildings and military sites.
This,he said, was to discourage the bombing of these areas. This was ablatantviolation of international war law, to take up hostages, but Saddamdismissedthe fact that the citizens were hostages, rather they were hisguests. Inpreparing US forces for war against Iraq, President Bush realized theUnitedStates could not attack without the UNs consent. This was a verytouchytopic, as many nations were involved, so their approval was veryimportant. Early in November 1990, Bush sent James Baker on a sort ofcampaign throughoutEurope, Asia, and the Middle East.
His mission was togain support forthe Desert Storm effort among these countries. As a resultof the campaign,the allied nations came up with an ultimatum for Iraq; getout of Kuwaitby a given date or risk attack by the allies. Baker and therest of theallied countries then went to the UN Security Council, andpresentedtheir ideas. On November 29, the UN approved Resolution 678.
Thiswasan ultimatum for the Iraqis to leave Kuwait by midnight on January 15,1991. Hourspassed by since midnight, and still the Allies did not attack as theysaid. The citizens of countries around the world were wondering if theultimatumwas a bluff. Maybe Saddam was right; the US was bluffing, and hehadcalled it. Some people were angry, other relieved. Morning passed intoafternoon,and many felt that there would be no Gulf War.
But then, at about7:00PM, a bulletin came in from the White House that bombing had started at4:50that afternoon. The operation had been dubbed Operation Desert Storm. Theliberation of Kuwait has begun. 6Desert Storm was the largest airassault in history.
Its goal was to make itimpossible for Iraq to attackSaudi Arabia and also weaken their army, inpreparation for a groundattack. Allied planes were assigned to targets likeIraqi airfields,missile sites, troop bunkers, army bases, weapons factories,and industrialfactories. At the same time, they focused their attacks oncommunicationand radar sites to blind the Iraqi army. Biological weaponsfactories,chemical labs and other Iraqi targets were destroyed. These wereallkey strategic sites that had to be eliminated in order to decrease Alliedcasualties.
Withmost of Iraqs radar warning systems down and the Iraqi air force ontherun, Allied bombers and attack planes were free to attack all of theirtargetswithout fear of being shot down. American bombers flew unchallengedthroughthe sky, devastating targets all over. British tornado jets cruisedlowover Iraqi airfields, destroying hangars and demolishing runways, makingthemuseless. American warships in the Persian Gulf launched over one hundredTomahawkcruise missiles equipped with computerized cameras.
These deviceswerepre-programmed with detailed maps of Iraqi terrain. With adequate yetdeadlyaccuracy, the missiles found the launch sites, oil refineries, powerstations,and other targets. It was now Saddams turn to act. After labeling Bushas the Satan of theWhite House,7 he began his attack on January 18,1991.
His attack shockedpeople around the world. Following through onhis promise to strike outagainst Israel, he ordered a missile attackagainst the Israelis at about2:00 AM. Detecting the incoming Scuds,the entire population of Tel-Aviv puton their gas masks. This was becauseof another threat by Saddam that hewould burn half of Israel withchemical weapons.
Suddenly, after only 20minutes after the announcement,eight Scuds appeared over Israel. Two hit TelAviv, three hit a portcity named Haifa, and the other two landed in openfields. The Scudscaused only fifteen injuries and no deaths; they wereembarrassinglyinaccurate. Many people around the world were outraged bythis, callinghim a barbarian and a madman. Many people were surprised that Israeldid not retaliate against Iraq, asthey are know for their quick counterattacks.
They held back at the requestof President Bush. He feared that if theIsraelis joined the Allied effort,many of the Arab nations would quit. He compromised by promising to hunt downthe Scud launchers in Iraq. He also promised to protect Israel from furtherScud attacks by use ofthe Patriot missiles. Meanwhile, the Allies continued their strategicbombings at the rate ofthousands per day.
Allied warplanes destroyedbridges, airfields, andmilitary centers. Iraqs two nuclear power plantswere leveled. By earlyFebruary 1991, the 4. 5 million people of Baghdadhad almost no electricity ofrunning water. Hundreds of Iraqi tanks hadbecome charred, smashed hunks ofmetal scattered around the desert. Mostof Iraqs military and industrialbuildings were demolished.
Tens ofthousands of Iraqi military personnel weredead, while Allied fatalitiesnumbered less than one hundred. Still, Saddamrefused to surrender. OnFebruary 22, President Bush delivered a warning to the Iraqi dictator. Saddamhad to begin withdrawing from Kuwait by the 22nd, or face the groundattackthe Allies were preparing for.
To nobodys surprise, Saddam againrefusedthe warning. The ground attack started at 8:00 PM on February 22,1991. Bush determined that Iraq did not meet the conditions, and askedGeneralNormal Schwartzkopf to use all forces available, including groundforces,to eject the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. The overall plan of theAlliedattack was to move troops northward into southern Iraq and cut offKuwaitfrom the rest of Iraq. Then the Allies would focus on defeating Iraqiforcesin Kuwait.
For weeks the Allied commanders had kept their troopsstationedin the Saudi desert just north of Kuwait. But at the last minute,theAllies shifted their forces to the west, south of Iraq. The Iraqis werenotaware of these changes. They did not have informative aircraft surveyingtheAllied movements.
General Schwarzkopf also stationed eighteen thousandUSMarines in plain sight in the Persian Gulf near the Kuwaiti coast. Thinkingthere would be an amphibious assault, the Iraqis pulled thousandsof troopsout of the desert and put them near the coast. They were takencompletely bysurprise when the huge mass of the Allied assault penetratednorthward intoIraq. At the same time, farther west, French and Americantroops sneakedacross southern and central Iraq. They were trapped.
Whilethe other troops were invading Iraq, a combined force of Americans,Saudis,Egyptians, and Syrians launched an assault into southern Kuwait. Hundredsof tanks moved in and opened fire on Iraqi desert positions. Overfiftythousand troops followed. Most of the Iraqis in the desert along theKuwaiti-Saudiborder were already wiped out from weeks of bombing raids.
Dayafterday, hour after hour air attacks pounded Iraqi bunkers and trenches. Itwasa living hell for those soldiers. And they knew they were defeated. Alltheywanted to do was to go home- the war did not matter any longer.
As aresult,the invasion of Kuwait was a success, and thousands of Iraqi soldiersdecidedto surrender rather than face certain death. All that was left nowwasclean up. Allies went on a search and kill mission to rid Kuwait of whatwasleft of the Iraqi soldiers. The next day, newspapers around the worldhad the this on their headline inbig, bold lettering: KUWAIT FREED!War is over.
War in the end, seems to be a glorious thing. Especiallyin this Gulf War. Clearly you had the aggressor, the bad guy, SaddamHussein, and the good guy,George Bush. Things turned out like somethingout of a movie; the good guywins easily, the bad guy looses with disgrace. Certainly it felt like a movieto us all, with the extensive press coverageand abundance of video captured. In this I feel we have taken war inthe wrong way.
War is not something to belooked at as great, or forthat matter funny. I remember the various videoshots of missiles destructingbuildings, night vision video of bewilderedIraqi soldiers falling overin death from an enemy they cannot even see orhear. . . It makes me cringeto think that these images are shown for ouramusement, not for us tosee the cruelty of war. It is true that Saddam is infact a madman, butthis does not label every single Iraqi citizen, or soldieras one.
Welook at gruesome footage of a charred Iraqi body, frozen whilesittingup in his burnt truck- and we laugh. I think we have to rethinkexactlywhat we fought this war for, was it worth the death on both sides,andwhy we put such a low humanitarian priority on the lives of ouropponents.NicholasSinghemailprotectedPICARDesign Graphics-http://members.aol.com/picdesign/-Servingall you graphical needs.Words/ Pages : 2,898 / 24