The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug”

a–Chris Hedges

 

On this day, 16th January in 1991, war was to be declared in the Persian Gulf if Iraq did not pull out of Kuwait. Operation Desert Storm was an international response to Iraq invading Kuwait. The result of this was international forces, led predominantly by the US and Britain, pushing Iraq back to within their borders. It was considered a clear victory. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded the small neighbouring oil-rich state of Kuwait in 1990. This gave him control over 1/5 of the world’s oil and it was feared that he would invade Saudi Arabia next. On January 17th, the United States launched a massive aerial bombardment campaign through Iraq, striking Iraq’s air defense installations as well as Iraqi troop movements. This air campaign lasted for over a month, concluded near the end of February, and was massively successful. The Iraqi Air Force and air defense was completely annihilated. Iraqi ground forces were bloodied by the aerial bombardment, as shown by one rattled member of Iraq’s 5th Mechanized Division reporting that “American airpower had done more damage to his brigade in half an hour than it had suffered in eight years of fighting the Iranians.

After the conclusion of the air campaign, Coalition ground forces conducted an offensive against the Iraqi Army on February 24th, 1991.

Major General Robert H. Scales as a co-author to the book The Iraq War, wrote

‘No matter how impressive the battlefield victories might have appeared... the United States failed to win the peace.’