The March to Baghdad: Did We Stop Too Soon?
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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On 2 August 1990, the world watched in disbelief as the Iraqi Army forcefully invaded and occupied Kuwait. Saddam Husseins goal was to dominate the Persian Gulf region and use its vast wealth to become the greatest Arab hero of modern times and the leader of a new Arab Superpower. The United Nations immediately criticized this abhorrent behavior and called for the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait the restoration of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Kuwait and the restoration of the legitimate government of Kuwait. After continued noncompliance with United Nations demands, it was decided that the use of force was the only way to reestablish the stability to this oil rich region. Thus came a massive buildup of coalition military might and the birth of Operation DESERT STORM. In the ground offensive that lasted 100 hours, the coalition was successful in ejecting the Iraqi forces from Kuwait, restoring the legitimate government and sovereignty of Kuwait, and weakened the offensive capability of Saddams forces enough to restore some stability back to the Persian Gulf region. But, the debate rages on, both in civilian and military circles, whether President Bush made the correct decision by stopping Operation DESERT STORM when he did or should he have allowed General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and the coalition forces to advance into Baghdad. This paper examines this dilemma by focusing on the objectives established by the United Nations and how they were translated from President Bush down to the troops in the sand. It shows that the execution of Operation DESERT STORM fulfilled all objectives levied by the United Nations and any further action by the coalition to eliminate the Iraqi regime or Saddam Hussein would not have been in the best interests of the international community and our coalition partnership.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics