War in the Gulf. The Politics of Coalition Warfare
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
Pagination or Media Count:
The stunning victory in the Gulf War stands out as a shining example of the proper place for politicians in war -- just turn it over to the military professionals and get out of the way. But was this really the key to our success Hardly. In fact virtually every important decision on the conduct of the war was based on political objectives and measured in terms of the ultimate shape of the peace that would follow our inevitable victory. The political basis for decision making in war is hardly a new concept. However, it was only formally acknowledged and expanded upon by the great Prussian military theorist, Carl Von Clausewitz in his classic treatise, On War, first published in 1832. Clausewitz refused to comment on even the most elementary military problem until he understood the political objective in the application of force. The military strategy adopted during the Gulf War was based on and constantly evaluated against the political objectives as expressed in the capitals of the coalition. The unique aspect of the Gulf War, and the one which this paper addresses, is the extent to which US military strategy accommodated the political objectives of the other coalition members.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics