Gulf war strategy Essay

This essay has a total of 1551 words and 8 pages.

gulf war strategy

Following the Vietnam war there was a national perception that the United States was no
longer a major military power. In actuality, the United States had not lost power but
military authority. The difference between the two is explained in the following excerpt
from On Strategy II: A Critical Analysis of the Gulf War by Col. Harry G. Summers:

Simply stated, military power, based on physical factors that can be counted and
computerized, is the aggregate of the size of a nation’s armed forces; the strength
of its weaponry, arms, and equipment; and the sufficiency of its sustaining logistical
base. Military authority, on the other hand, is based on the more intangible perceptions
by other nations that such power will be used, if need be, in pursuit of national
interests. While unquantifiable, it is nonetheless real.

These physical factors are the means of a Military Strategic Equation. A Military
Strategic Equation is composed of the ends, ways, and means. The ends are the national
policy objectives and national security objectives.

In regards to the Gulf War, the national policy objective Saddam Hussein overstepped was,
he violated the freedom and democracy of the Kuwait people by invading their nation-state.
Others include, preserving the independence of Saudi Arabia, a friendly relation, and to
prevent Hussein’s nuclear capabilities. For the Soviet Union the decision to allay
itself with the United Nation force was economic. “If Saddam Hussein, by his rash
act, were permitted to throttle the world economy by driving oil prices higher, inflation
would quickly rise and the world economy- not just that of the United States and Europe-
would tumble into a deep recession” hurting the Soviets too, says U.S. News & World
Report book Triumph Without Victory.

The United States quickly mobilized choosing Collective Military Security, and Show of
Force as the prime ways to defend the National Objectives. The ways consists of different
military strategies examined as possible methods of stopping Hussein. Other ways the
United States explored include Flexible Response, Forward Defense and Containment.

General Norman Schwarzkopf quickly led the United Nation Coalition into the middle-East.
The forces are the military resources of the Means. The US force alone included over
527,000 personnel.

Protecting and enforcing the National Security Objectives required Military Strategy. The
United States used the strategy of Sequential and Cumulative. Imposing sanctions on
August 6, 1990 the United States crippled Iraq. The sanctions, were then made more
forceful by the naval blockades, and embargo. Disease was the direct result of starving
people in Iraq. The United States knew that by controlling the level of medicine being
imported, cholera, typhoid and dysentery would grow to epidemic proportions. All trade to
and from Iraq, medicine and food became weapons. The next step was the declaration of
Desert Storm.

The cumulative approach utilized air raids and Cruise missiles. An article in Time
magazine discusses how targets are chosen for raids,

Within a week, the bombers began zeroing in on what allied commanders calculated to be
Iraq’s center of gravity... the allied commanders decided that in this war the
center of gravity is the Republican Guard, the well-trained, highly mobile 150,000-man
force that Saddam relies on for operational flexibility near Kuwait (Fischer, Peterzell,
van Voorst 36).

Iraqi air bases, communication systems, and command control centers along the Kuwait and
Saudi boarder were also hit, in order to degrade Iraq’s command. Triumph Without
Victory states, “On the final night of the war, two U.S. Air Force bombers dropped
specially designed bombs on a command bunker near Baghdad in a deliberate attempt to kill
Saddam Hussein- despite repeated denials by the White House...” (3). Many people,
including Hussein, also claim that the United States was deliberating trying to kill
thousands of innocent civilians by bombing residences. The United States claims the
bombing of residences was down in error.

Iraq’s military Strategy was based upon the approach of demoralizing the enemy in
Cumulative ways. One highly effective approach used was, playing on the media to present
a twisted view of events, and also, a true account of twisted events. For example, the
world watched from their televisions as civilians were burned and killed in Falluja as
“ members stood by helplessly...” (Sciolino, 255). Elaine Sciolino
furthers revels in her book The Outlaw State, that the horror of war was being viewed for
the first time by the masses of the world. War had not been so personal before the Gulf

The Gulf Crisis also brought home the issue of genocide. Hussein was killing innocent
Kurds as we watched. Michael R. Gordon, and General Bernard E. Trainor, explored genocide
in their book, The Generals’ War, stating, “Like the Kurds to the north, the
Shiites had suffered decades of oppression at the hands of Baghdad” because
“The Baghdad regime viewed the Shiites... as a potential internal threat to be
closely monitored by the secret police” (434). This is another example of
cumulative strategy. The genocide was seen as a powerful show of strength to the Kuwait
nation, as they feared for their own lives.

Continues for 4 more pages >>

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