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Invasion of Iraq 1991, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 621

Essay

George H.W. Bushes’ Invasion of Iraq

On January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Storm was launched, under the direction of President George H.W.Bush, and involving a massive air assault against Iraq.  The attack occurred after Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, invaded Iraq and threatened to  mount an assault on Saudi Arabia as well (George Herbert Walker Bush). With the goal of freeing Kuwait, President Bush organized a coalition of Allied forces containing 118,000 troops and was able to secure the support of the United Nations, as well as the American people and Congress to conduct a military invasion(George H.W. Bush).

Hussein was given a deadline for a complete withdrawal from Kuwait, but when he did not meet that date, the U.S. launched a massive air assault one day after the deadline had expired.  The tremendous attack was televised and in the first 48 hours of the conflict, more than 5000 tons of bombs were dropped on Baghdad alone (Profile: George Herbert Walker Bush)Those initial attacks virtually obliterated Iraqi ground installations, the navy, and much of its air force.  Following the missile assault, a nonstop campaign of fighter bombers and assault helicopter strikes destroyed Iraqi govermment buildings, powers stations, dams, television and radio stations, and several palaces belonging to Hussein.  Some of the most critical military and infrastructure sites had been identified in advance by American personnel, and those were primary targets as well.

Hussein’s response was to release millions of gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf and to set them afire.  This event caused extremely significant environmental damage throughout the Gulf region (Profile: George Herbert Walker Bush). On February 22, President Bush gave Hussein 24 hours to surrender and to withdraw his troops from Kuwait.  Doing so would have prevented a U.S.-led ground assault but unfortunately, Hussein was unwilling.  As a result, the next day a massive invasion led by the U.S.  began, and U.S. strikes killed thousands of Iraqis who were retreating from Kuwait back into Iraq before it was all over.  The assault involved nearly every kind of weapon imaginable: air strikes, ground troops, tanks, explosives, and the result was a number of dead a Iraqis that could not be counted accurately, in part because culturally, the bodies are buried so quickly.  Others were simply incinerated (Profile: George Herbert Walker Bush).

On February 28, Iraq informally surrendered.  Nevertheless, U.S. aggression continued in the form of non-stop air assaults and other attacks.  There was much criticism of the continued attack on the Iraqis because they had virtually surrendered but still, on March 2, ArmyGeneral Barry McCaffrey ordered a 5 hour assault on the Iraqi Republican Guard tank division.  The discomfort about this invasion involved both civilians and military leaders in Washington, as well as Allies in Saudi Arabia since it occurred after a cease-fire had begun and so was essentially a one-sided battle.  As one military lieutenant said,” There was no need to be shooting at any one.  The Iraqis couldn’t surrender fast enough.  The war was over.”(Profile: George Herbert Walker Bush).

When the war actually ended, it was widely felt that it had been necessary to launch the assault because Kuwait had been basically stolen by the Iraqis and needed a strong military coalition to win back their independence as a sovereign nation.  Overall, Operation Iraqi Freedom was a short military exercise that accomplished its goals but left in its wake thousands of dead Iraqi citizens and the beginning of much bitterness towards American military forces, a development that would only intensify when the second President Bush attacked the country again for no legitimate reason.

References

“George H.W. Bush.” White House.gov. 11 November 2010 <http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgehwbush/>.

“George Herbert Walker Bush.” 15 February 2010. Sourcewatch. 11 November 2010 <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=George_Herbert_Walker_Bush>.

“Profile: George Herbert Walker Bush.” History Commons. 11 November 2010 <http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=george_herbert_walker_bush&startpos=100>.

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