Its been 20 years ago this week that the ground war phase of Operation Desert Storm started that pushed Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and back into Iraq. It was a "100 hour war" by most accounts..but as history has shown things are not always as they seem. Saddam is gone (I was over in Kuwait when he was executed...strange), Kuwait is a regional economic influence again, Iraq still faces uncertainty and the rest of the region is in utter turmoil with revolt as of this writing.
After almost 10 years of conflict people take for granted pictures of soldiers and marines in the desert. In 1991 we had not fought in a desert climate since 1943. We were used to seeing pictures of troops fighting in jungles in places such as Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Grenada and Panama. We weren't sure how the change of climates would affect our troops or equipment. We faced the 3rd largest Army (at the time) in the world, one that had combat experience and had a history of using chemical weapons.
Thanks to CNN we were able to monitor the conflict 24/7. Some people say the dawn of cable news really came with this war. This was not lost on the military, many of its leaders had learned their lessons about the media the hard way in Vietnam. We "embedded" reporters with our units (often to give them a "clean" experience of the battle), we wined and dined them, we bedazzled the media and the public with both charm and high tech presentations. We introduced the public to people like "Stormin' Norman", a future Secretary of State and the "luckiest man in Iraq". We made the M1 Abrams tanks more popular than the Camaro. We all knew hellfire missles and smart bombs could knock the wings off a fly at 3 miles. We feared the SCUD and the MRE equally as well. We all wore yellow ribbons...
But most of all....we kicked ass. Our military was allowed to build up foolishly by the Iraqi leadership. Saddam thought he could bluff his way out of a direct confrontation or that the threat of chemical weapons would keep us at bay. Nope. We came at the Iraqis hard, smashed them in the face and blinded them during the air war, made them think that a single Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) landing by sea was our big assault and then hauled ass through the desert and kick the ass of the "elite Republican Guard units" before they knew what hit them. Domination was ours for the taking...and then we left.
Yep, we were on the outskirts of Baghdad and we pulled back because we were so fearful of being pulled into another Vietnam type conflict that we needed to adhere to an "exit strategy" and leave before the job was done. 12 years later we returned, took out the man we should of taken care of in 1991 before Al Quaeda was big enough to influence the power vacuum of his absence and done it right. The world would have been more supportive for sure.
None of that matters now.. what is done is done. What is important that we do not forget the service that those veterans that were involved in that conflict provided our nation.
Thank you veterans!
2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)