Janruary 17th was the twenty year anniversary of the largest military conflict that the US had been involved in since Vietnam. It was the date in 1991 that the US and NATO forces began the aerial bombardment of Iraqi positions in Iraq and Kuwait which was designed to cut off the Iraqi army and drive them out of Kuwait.
The entire world and the troops who were involved in the campaign expected a long, hard, drawn out fight, with a lot of casualties on both sides. The situation worked out to the point that the superior training, tactics, and technology of the US and NATO allies gave a rapid victory with very few casualties for our friendly troops. The thing that the world doesnt really understand is the number of Iraqi casualties which were left behind. The US and NATO would never release the numbers because if the world had known it would have resulted in much negative publicity and a world outcry against us.
The biggest mistake that Saddam Hussein made during the war was to leave his defensive forces in the same positions for the entire time that we had forces employed there. Our intelligence sources were able to accumulate a lot of detailed information on the disposition and locations of his units. We even knew their locations by name. Since we had such good intelligence on the Iraqi troops we had their exact positions pinpointed and targeted by our artillery. We also knew the names of the units and their characteristics and dispositions.
The purpose of the air campaign was to cut off the Iraqi front line units from their command and control and resupply. They were effectively put under a six month siege by our forces and starved out. This is the reason that many of the Iraqi reserve forces were so anxious to surrender once the ground war began. Although the Republican Guard units had some fight in them they did not last long in the battle. Most of their equipment was old and rusty and their food and medicine was low. Even though the US and NATOs ground forces were outnumbered they were able to win the war very handily.
General Colin Powell who was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was a Vietnam Veteran and therefore wanted to avoid the mistakes that the US made in Vietnam. I believe that the vigorous prosecution of the war was the major result of his attitude. The American public remembered the way that Vietnam Veterans were ostracized from our society after that war and made a conscious effort to support our soldiers. The different programs which were put into place to give our troops the moral support did a fantastic job of helping to lift the morale of our deployed troops.
This war the first war which was effectively televised during all of its phases. It utilized embedded reporters who actually followed the action to give a first hand account. It was also the debut of the smart bomb. America saw smart bombs dropped on TV and thought that all of the ordinance being used were smart bombs. The truth of the matter is that only a small percentage of the ordinance used was smart munitions. The military found that these munitions were very effective and has since began to produce and to use them almost exclusively. They have also figured out how to produce them inexpensively so the extra cost is well worth the improved effects.
Most of our troops utilized in this conflict had little or no combat experience although there were a few Vietnam Veterans left in the service. This conflict proved that peacetime military training was effective in preparing our troops for combat. Military Ring Express
Military Ring Express
A stimulating exploration of wandering, being lost, and the uses of the unknown from the author of Men Explain Things To Me
Written as a series of autobiographical essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Rebecca Solnit's life to explore issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. Solnit is interested in the stories we use to navigate our way through the world, and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves, or losing ourselves. While deeply personal, her own stories link up to larger stories, from captivity narratives of early Americans to the use of the color blue in Renaissance painting, not to mention encounters with tortoises, monks, punk rockers, mountains, deserts, and the movie Vertigo. The result is a distinctive, stimulating voyage of discovery.
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost