1-17: UN vs Iraq, 1991

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece from history.com.]

Just a few questions:

  • Where were you on January 15, 1991 when the “coalition” began bombing Iraq because of its invasion of Kuwait?
  • Did you know or care about Iraq’s presence in Kuwait before that date?
  • Using a globe or map, could you place your finger on Iraq or Kuwait, then or now?

History.com reports (for January 15, 1991):

The Persian Gulf War Begins

At midnight in Iraq, the United Nations deadline for the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait expires, and the Pentagon prepares to commence offensive operations to forcibly eject Iraq from its five-month occupation of its oil-rich neighbor.

Did you even know that the United Nations had a Pentagon?

At 4:30 p.m. EST, the first fighter aircraft were launched from Saudi Arabia and off U.S. and British aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf on bombing missions over Iraq. All evening, aircraft from the U.S.-led military coalition pounded targets in and around Baghdad as the world watched the events transpire in television footage transmitted live via satellite from Baghdad and elsewhere. At 7:00 p.m., Operation Desert Storm, the code-name for the massive U.S.-led offensive against Iraq, was formally announced at the White House.

You see, although any grade schooler can tell you that in America only Congress can declare war. So, if the Coalition-U.N.-Pentagon-White House designates a hostile act an “operation,” said hostile act is not a war. Oh, people will die, lots of people; but a state of war does not exist. The United States is not at war.

The operation was conducted by an international coalition under the command of U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf and featured forces from 32 nations, including Britain, Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.

Did you know that American forces, even when nominally in combat under the auspices of the United Nations, never fight under the command—or the flag—of another nation? That’s a rule.

During the next six weeks, the allied force engaged in a massive air war against Iraq’s military and civil infrastructure, and encountered little effective resistance from the Iraqi air force or air defenses. Iraqi ground forces were helpless during this stage of the war …

On February 24, a massive coalition ground offensive began, and Iraq’s outdated and poorly supplied armed forces were rapidly overwhelmed. Kuwait was liberated in less than four days, and a majority of Iraq’s armed forces surrendered, retreated into Iraq, or were destroyed….

We can’t leave well enough alone.

On March 20, 2003, a second war between Iraq and a U.S.-led coalition began, this time with the stated U.S. objective of removing Saddam Hussein from power and, ostensibly, finding and destroying the country’s weapons of mass destruction.

That’s not exactly how I remember it. In fact, campaigner George W. Bush clearly articulated his non-desire to effect regime changes around the world, he would not be a “nation builder.” Although Bush was president, I continue to hold his veep, Dick Cheney, and other chicken hawk neocons responsible for the disaster that was the war in Iraq.

Hussein was captured by a U.S. military unit on December 13, 2003. No weapons of mass destruction were found. Although U.S. President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 2003, an insurgency has continued an intense guerrilla war in the nation that has resulted in thousands of coalition military, insurgent and civilian deaths.

It never ends.

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top corner is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

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