Kuwait Essay, Research Paper
LIBERATE KUWAIT CASE
On August 2, 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the United States had to decide
how to handle the situation. Should they use offensive force or will sanctions be
effective in driving Iraq out of Kuwait? This was the main question that President Bush
and his advisors had to answer. Unfortunately, not everyone had the same opinion on
how to solve the situation. Shortly after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait President Bush
made a statement in which he stated that ? Iraq must completely withdraw from Kuwait?
(236). President Bush felt that the only successful method in liberating Kuwait was to
use force. Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense, also agreed with the President. He felt
that sanctions on Iraq were not effective and it would not guarantee success. However,
Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, felt that alternatives were not being
considered equally. Powell thought that containment and economic sanctions on Iraq
could prove to be effective. General Powell talked to Brent Scowcroft, National Security
Council Director, to see if the alternatives were being discussed with the President. As
National Security Director it was his job to see that all alternatives would be equally
weighed. Scowcroft, however, agreed with the President that sanctions were not
In October Powell told General Schwarzkoph that Bush wanted a preliminary
plan of an offensive attack. There were three phases of the plan. The first three were an
air attack, and the fourth plan was a ground attack. The plan was considered to be
inadequate, the U.S. did not have enough forces to attack. ?On October 30, 1990,
President bush met with Powell, Cheney, Scowcroft, and Baker to discuss what policy
was to be used, Deter-and defend, or an offensive plan?(245).
There are some important lessons form this case study that should be reviewed.
One aspect is the miscommunication or lack of it. From the beginning their was no real
organization to the methods that were being discussed. Instead of a group effort to find
an effective solution on liberating Kuwait, several top advisors had their own opinion and
acted solely on them, sometimes without consulting other officials. One example of this
is when Cheney went on major networks and announced, in different ways, that the
United States might send more troops to Kuwait. Neither Powell or Schwarzkoph were
told of this decision beforehand.
Throughout this case there was always the issue of the alternatives not adequately being
considered. Powell told Scowcroft several times that alternatives should be discussed
before coming to a conclusion to liberate Kuwait. However, Scowcroft was unwilling to
cooperate with Powell on this issue. When President Bush did meet with his advisors the
meetings were not very productive. Another important point is the fact that plans were
not carried through. One example is when Baker told Powell that there will be a meeting
with Bush to discuss the advantages of containment. There was never a meeting in
regards to this. President Bush?s foremost commitment was to devise a plan that would
guarantee success. In his opinion, that meant using force to liberate Kuwait. President
Bush was biased to the plan of action and did not consider any other plan equally.
This case study relates the to other cases we have discussed in this class. One
case it relates to is the Challenger Case . In both cases, the alternatives were not clearly
discussed. In the Challenger Case NASA could have considered ther alternative of lift
off at a later time that day, but it was never disscused. Another case it relates to is the
Move Disaster case. In both cases there was a lack of organization in finding the right
method to solve the situation. In the Move Disaster case there should have been more
qualified personnel involved to help the city officials come to an appropriate solution.
This was never accomplished. All the case studies we have studied so far are related in
many different ways.