Defining Victory: Three Case Studies of Strategic Guidance and Decision Making
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
Pagination or Media Count:
The Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 was widely hailed as a triumph of modern warfare. Those who remembered the trauma and inconclusiveness of Vietnam applauded its clear goals, lack of civilian interference, and decisive end. Yet, twelve years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq and embarked upon the high-risk, open-ended commitment that the first Bush administration had sought to avoid. This thesis examines U.S. civilian-military relations and decision making regarding Iraq at three points between 1990 and 1998. Were those decisions consistent with legal, treaty, and moral obligations Did the civilian policy makers provide military leaders with adequate guidance to make decisions and did the military provide the civilians with adequate options to formulate guidance Finally, did the decision makers adequately revisit their decisions to adapt to changing situations The U.S. political system constrained civilian decision makers within the law, but the desire for unambiguous and unchanging guidance caused civilian leaders to leave guidance unchanged in the face of changing political circumstances. Both military and civilian leaders generally discounted the unpredictable impact of military actions themselves on the strategic goals and therefore failed to adapt to changing situations. 55 refs.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics