Saddam, Iraq, And The Gulf War

War,
justifiable or not, is complete madness. It is hell. No matter what the
cause,
or what the reason is, war remains mankind’s greatest source of
tragedy,
the plague of mankind, and the plague of this country. Our country
has
existed for only 200 years, a relatively short time, and already we have
been
involved in over eleven major wars. Four have been fought this last
fifty
years. We are a nation of freedom, but we are also a nation of strong
military
presence. Our reasons for going to war have differed little from
most
nations. Political, social, and economic factors working alone or with
each
other lead us into all of our conflicts. A drive for independence
brought
on the Revolutionary war. A common fear of living in a divided
society
created the Civil War. The need to bring down an aggressive nation
took
the United States into the Korean War. And territorial disputes lay
behind
the Mexican-American and American Indian Wars. Like most countries,
the
United States, at different periods, has been victimized by the dark
forces
of war.
Though reasons (or excuses) the American people have been given
to the
American people to justify military action were given before most
of our
wars, not every war has been popular. Ever since the Revolutionary
War up
until the Vietnam War, and even through to the Gulf War, public
support has
sequentially increased or decreased. For example, less than
half of the early
colonists backed America’s war of independence.1 According
to historians,
more than one third wanted to maintain their status of
colonists.2 During the
Spanish-American War, such a strong anti-war mood
was being expressed by the
American people, the Democratic party made
condemning the war a major part of
their election campaign. More recently,
the Vietnam War divided the nation
like no other conflict had since the
Civil War.
Yet, there have been some wars that have attained much support,
and much has
even given people pride and joy. How ironic, and morbid,
that a war could
give a person feelings of joy or pride. World War I
and World War II were
incredibly popular, since people thought the basis
of democracy was at stake.
During both wars, people were so committed
to winning the war, and had such a
sense of self-sacrifice, our nation
showed incredible unity for such a
diverse country. Support for food
and fuel rationing was overwhelming, high
rates of enlisted volunteers,
purchases of war bonds, and countless other
types of voluntary actions
were characteristic of the times. Most recently,
the Persian Gulf War
showed to be one of this country’s more popular wars,
despite the fact
we, as a land mass, were never directly endangered.
Thousands showed
up for rallies to send off the troops. Tens of thousands of
individuals
and families across the nation sent packages of food, clothes,
cassettes,
CDs, suntan oil, and even cosmetics. Some wrote letters to unknown
soldiers
in the front line, and gave them their best wishes. In fact, most
public
opinion polls showed that about 90 percent of all Americans approved
of
the Gulf War. 3
This paper covers in detail the history of Iraq’s involvement
in the events
leading to the war in the Persian Gulf, the involvement
of the United States,
and the main events that took place in Operation
Desert Shield and Desert
Storm.


For centuries, the Middle East
has been one of the most important, most
argued about, and most fought
over areas of the world. One reason for this is
their strategic location.
Since it lies at what many call the “crossroads of
three continents-”
Europe, Asia and Africa- people of these continents often
had to cross
through the Middle East to establish military and trade routes.
To protect
these routes, other nations took the advantage of conquering and
controlling
a nearby Middle Eastern country. An addition to the Middle East
being
a very strategic area, it is also an area that has been plagued by
hostility
and opposition for centuries. Among the most recognized and most
relevant
of these is the Arab-Israeli conflict.
On May 14, 1948, an announcement
from Palestine shocked the world. David
BenGurion, leader of the Jewish
forces, announced the establishment of the
nation of Israel. The Jews
had decided to declare their independence before
the UN officially granted
it. By doing this, the Jews were able to postpone
the UN decision to
divide Palestine and had more control over Israel. The
United States
immediately recognized the new state. The Soviet Union and most
other
UN nations recognized it as well. Just as quickly, the members of the
Arab
League declared war on Israel. Armies from six Arab nations marched into
Palestine.
The
resulting 1948 Arab-Israeli War lasted less than eight months. Even
though
the combined population of the Arab nations was over four times larger
than
that of Israel, the Israelis won an astounding victory. In the war,
Israeli
forces succeeded in capturing some of the land that the UN provided
to
the Arabs. In January 1949, Israel controlled