American Participation in the Gulf War
American engagement in the Gulf War has been a source of controversy for many years. Although the Gulf War lasted less than a week the President at the time, George Bush, received criticism for the decision to have American troops participate in the Gulf War.
George Bush was elected president in 1988. His leadership was put to a stern test in 1990. On August 2, the army of Iraq invaded the small neighboring country of Kuwait and quickly took over. Iraq was led by a brutal man named Saddam Hussein who proclaimed he was annexing Kuwait to Iraq and anyone who didn’t like it could stuff it.
Bush chose not to stuff it. To Bush supporters, his decision to intervene was based on his desire to defend the defenseless. To his critics, it was to protect U.S. interests in Kuwait’s oil production.
Whatever the reason, in the weeks following the Iraqi invasion, Bush convinced other world leaders to establish a trade embargo on Iraq. Almost simultaneously, the United States, Britain, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other countries began assembling a massive armed force in case the economic pressure didn’t work.
When that proved to be the case, the United States and its allies launched a gigantic aerial assault on Iraq on January 16, 1991. After six weeks of massive bombardment, the allied forces sent in ground troops. The vaunted Iraqi military turned out to be made of papier-mâché. U.S. casualties were light, and about 100 hours after the ground war started, Iraq threw in the towel.
The victory, however, was not all that victorious. Kuwait was free, but the Iraqi dictator Saddam remained in power. Nine years after the war, the United States was still spending $2 billion a year to enforce a no-fly zone over Northern Iraq, kept an armada of Navy ships in the area, and maintained a force of 25,000 troops in the region.