Gulf War Essay Research Paper The United

Gulf War Essay, Research Paper The United States of America was justified in taking a dominate military role in the Persian Gulf crisis. This role was justified due to Saddam Husseins invasion of Kuwait, the threat of chemical warfare and the encouragement of the United States Congress and the United Nations Security Council.

Gulf War Essay, Research Paper

The United States of America was justified in taking a dominate military role in the Persian Gulf crisis. This role was justified due to Saddam Husseins invasion of Kuwait, the threat of chemical warfare and the encouragement of the United States Congress and the United Nations Security Council. This conflict grew out of tension over oil, with Iraq claming that Kuwait was pumping oil from a field on the Iraq – Kuwait border and not sharing the profit that arose from this field. In the beginning, Americans and the world only assumed at worst the Iraqi s would seize the border to intimidate Kuwait into settling their differences. What happen was a different story with the Western world stepping into what Saddam Hussein himself called, the mother of all battles.

Saddam Hussein had given his word to both Egypt s President and Saudi Arbia s King Fahd that he would not invade the neighboring country of Kuwait. However his word turned out to be just a smokescreen for the planned invasion. This bluff along with Saddam s treatment of the Kuwait citizens and Kuwait s poor military protection were all reasons why the United States was justified in its military actions. Saddam had told, the American ambassador to Baghdad, April Glaspie that he would not resort to force as long as negotiations were proceeding to resolve a recently renewed border dispute with Kuwait 1 On July 27, a United States satellite saw Iraqi trucks carting supplies towards troops that were gathering on the Iraq – Kuwait border. Kuwait still did not believe that an invasion was possible even after the Americans told them, four days before the invasion, that the Iraq forces on the border appeared to be in battle formation and been issued ammunition. 2. At this point, Saudi Arbia s King Fahd, telephoned Saddam and sent his foreign minister to Baghdad, but Saddam assured them that his troops were merely conducting seasonal exercises 3 Yet on August 2, many people in Kuwait awakened to distant explosions and then twelve hours after it began, Saddam controlled the airport, the central bank, the radio and television station and all key government buildings 4. So much for his word. Saddam used gruesome tactics in his treatment of the people of Kuwait. For example, in one case, sixty-seven women an children who had sought shelter in a cave to escape artillery shelling were knowingly incinerated 5 There were stories of looting, rape, torture and executions. There were stories of a man who disappeared one day only to turn up the next day with his head wrapped in the Kuwaiti flag and they had fired three bullets into his skull 6 Kuwait as a country was not prepared for the invasion. The size of the military was estimated at somewhere between 16,000 to 20,000 troops. Only about 90 out of the 200 tanks that the country owned were operation, the rest were in storage, in training or undergoing repairs. 7 The Kuwaiti military was outnumbered 26 to 1 and by 11 am on the day of the invasion the foreign minister received a call from the military compound that Kuwait was lost; these message was, Say good-bye to Kuwait. We ve run out of ammunition. 8

The threat of chemical warfare was a real concern during the gulf crisis. Two reasons for the concern was the stockpile and production of the chemical weapons along with the stockpile of nuclear weapons Saddam was rumored to have. There were also orders for these chemical weapons to be used but they never were. The production of chemical weapons started as early as the 1970 s when Iraq asked for help in building, what they called a pesticide plant. 9 This pesticide plant was used to make four toxic chemicals that were similar to those chemicals in nerve gas. By 1990, analysts agreed that Iraq was capable of producing more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents a year. 10 Iraq was said to have been trying to develop warheads to place on its extended – range Scud missles. 11 After Iraq invaded Kuwait, there was talk and expectations that Saddam may unleash chemical weapons 12 Another concern was the building of nuclear weapons. By 1981, Saddam had acquired some nuclear fuel and this increased his taste for the ability to be a nuclear power. He began to approach other country to buy compointants that would help continue his nuclear program. Over the years this included gas furnaces that could be used in the production of the nuclear – weapons production. At the beginning of the Gulf war, George Bush made it clear that he intended to knock out Saddam Hussein s nuclear bomb potential. 13 The allied forces were prepared to encounter the chemical weapons, they went to battle with, bulky protective suits, gloves, boots, and antidote syringes. 14 Reports had shown that Saddam ordered his military to imploy chemical weapons when the ground troops advanced on them however, Saddam never carried out his threat to use chemicals. There are theories on why these weapons were not used, one of these being that the ground war came and went so quickly that Iraqis never had an opportunity to use them 15 Whatever the reason, the American s announced on the first day of the cease-fire that, Saddam no longer poised a military threat 16 and that Iraq s capability to manufacture nuclear weapons had been neutralized 17

On January 12, 1991, the United States Congress voted in favor of giving President George Bush the authority to go to war to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. This vote came after many Resolutions were passed by the United Nations that condemned the invasion of Kuwait, and because Resolution 678 of the United Nation Security Council was ignored by Iraq. The United Nations began to pass resolutions that condemned Iraq s behavior on August 2, 1990. The first resolution was Resolution 660, and it called for the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait. 18 The United Nations and the Security Council continued into the month passing resolutions like Resolution 661 which ordered a global embargo of trade with Iraq 19 and Resolution 665 which, authorized the force by Western navies to enforce sanctions. 20 Other resolutions include demands for the release of foreigners from Iraq and Kuwait, and the declaration that Iraq s annexation of Kuwait was null and void. On November 29, 1990, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 678, which authorized the use of force against Iraq if it does not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15. 21 This resolution passed by a margin of 12 to 2, and it gave Saddam Hussein and Iraq a six- week deadline to withdraw from Kuwait. The Security Council also used the resolution to make the statement that they would use all necessary means to restore international peace and security in the area 22 This resolution opened the door for the United States Congress to give their vote of confidence and authority to President Bush to go to war. With the backing of Congress and the deadline for withdraw nearing, the United States forces assembled and readied themselves to provide the necessary military might to enforce the U.N. resolutions. 23 However, on January 15.1991, the deadline for withdraw of troops from Kuwait expires at midnight without any retraction of the Iraqi troops.

In the end, Operation Desert Storm began on schedule, unleasing a hail of bombs and missles and dashing the hopes for a peaceful solution of the Gulf crisis. 24 Iraq stood alone in the fight up agaisnt the United States who had assembled a coalition of 28 countries. The Gulf war employed over a half a million American soldiers during the 100 hour attack on Iraq. The Americans were justified in taking a dominate military role because of the Iraqi invasion into Kuwait. This reason along with Saddam Hussein s threat of chemical warfare and the backing of the United States Congress and the United nations Security Council, proves that stepping into the fight to end the aggression was the right thing for the Americans to do. In the end, on February 27, 1991, United States President, George Bush declared a cease-fire and stated that Iraq had been defeated and Kuwait had been liberated. He then gave the American people and the world a remark that justified the involvement in the crisis. He said, We declared that the aggression against Kuwait would not stand and tonight America and the world have kept their promise. 25


1) Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State, pg. 207

2) ibdi, pg.208

3) ibdi, pg.208

4) ibdi, pg.211

5) Judith Miller, Saddam Hussein And The Crisis In The Gulf, pg. 5

6) ibdi, pg. 212

7) Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State, pg. 209

8) ibdi, pg. 211

9) ibdi, pg. 150

10) ibdi, pg.151

11) ibdi, pg. 151

12) ibdi, pg. 151

13) ibdi, pg. 154

14) ibdi, pg. 258

15) ibdi, pg. 262

16) ibdi, pg. 154

17) ibdi, pg. 154

18) ibdi, pg. 298

19) ibdi, pg. 298

20) ibdi, pg. 299

21) ibdi, pg. 299

22) Thomas Allan, War In The Gulf, pg. 82

23) ibdi, pg. 85

24) Elaine Sciolino, The Outlaw State, pg. 25

25) ibdi, pg. 261


Sciolino, Elaine, The Outlaw State: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, 1991

Miller, Judith, Saddam Hussein And The Crisis In The Gulf: Times Books, New York, 1990

Allen, Thomas, CNN War In The Gulf: R.R. Donnelly & Sons, Kansas City, Missouri, 1991