December 2, 2005

The War Nerd reviews the 1990s:

Gary Brecher writes that the 1990s featured:

1. Gulf War One, a glorious, magnificent war;

2. A lot of small, crummy wars that hogged all the media attention;

3. Four big, serious wars that nobody noticed...

Even now, I seem to be the only American who appreciates the Prussian-quality planning and execution of the 1991 Iraqi campaign. The rest of you booted Bush Sr. out the year after our victory and elected a draft-dodger who always reminded me of my student body president.

As if that wasn't bad enough, America's voters turned around and reelected Bush's idiot son last year, after the beady-eyed fool drove our Chevy right off the levee into Euphrates mud up to the side mirror. So what are you trying to tell us, guys? That you'll forgive military debacles, but not victories?

Part of the reason America was so ungrateful is that Powell, Schwarzkopf and the troops made it look too easy. After the war people said they knew all along it'd be easy. Well, I happen to remember 1991, and that's a lie. Check for yourself: read the op-ed pages for any U.S. paper from August 2, 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. All the think tanks were predicting a long, bloody struggle to reduce the Iraqi fortifications. Every day you heard that their army was "battle-hardened from the Iran-Iraq War, that the Iraqi Army was "the fourth-largest in the world," and that Iraqi military engineers were brilliant at defensive warfare, with eight years of practice building sand berms, tank traps and moats of crude that they could set on fire as soon as our tanks got close...

It's easy to see now that Saddam had pretty much ensured we'd win easily, by deploying his troops exactly where an enemy whose strength is air power could pulverize them: a flat uninhabited desert. Saddam was the worst civilian commander since Churchill. He was a genius at running Iraq-we may as well admit it now, he did what we haven't been able to do, even with way more men, money and power. But when it came to conventional warfare, he was Schwarzkopf's dream date, the team you want to face in the playoffs.

The 1990s were one of the better decades in human history and I suspect that some of that was owed to the exemplary nature of Desert Storm. It was a message to potential troublemakers around the world that if you stepped too far over the line, that the world, under the leadership of the United States, might come and clean your clock.

I'd love to see a study of the psychological impact of the overwhelming American victory in early 1991 over the Soviet-equipped Iraq army had on the Soviet soldiers. As you'll recall, in August 1991 the Communist hardliners arrested Gorbachev, but their coup collapsed when the military wouldn't follow their leaders and some units defected to Yeltsin. Did they feel that the hardliners would lead them into foreign adventures to to try to hold the Soviet union together and that Desert Storm had shown that would be deadly for Soviet troops?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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