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Cost Of The Golf War Essay, Research Paper

How much did the Gulf War cost the US

How much did the US pay for the Gulf War above and beyond the yearly

cost for supporting its military? The US Department of Defense estimated

the incremental cost at $61 billion. This additional cost included

deployment, construction and operations in the Gulf. However, $54

billion was offset by contributions of other members in the Coalition.

Two-thirds of the $54 billion was provided by the Gulf States ($36

billion) with the remaining one-third mostly provided by Japan and

Germany ($16 billion).

Notes on the graph:

Payments were made in one of two ways: with financial assets (”Cash”) and with services such as sealift and airlift (”In-Kind”) As of March 1992, there was a shortfall in receipts compared with commitments. The total amount committed was $54 billion but only $52.9 billion had been received. The shortfall was $1.1 billion. Saudi Arabia provided the US Military with fuel, food, water, local transportation and facilities, accounting for the “In-Kind” assistance. This accounted for 25% of the Saudi commitment to the US Military presence and was 71% of all “In-Kind” contributions. The US paid roughly $7 billion, less than 12% of the total US cost and less than half what Saudi Arabia and Kuwait paid.

Why is the cost of the Gulf War to the US and how the US paid for the

war, interesting? Along with the large scale engagement of international forces (the US had over 500,000 troops while non-US

Coalition forces were roughly 160,000 or roughly 24% of all forces), the large international contributions to defer the cost of the war for the US deployment provides an indication of how deep international support for that war was, at least amoung those countries wealthy enough to provide the contributions.

In the end, the war cost the US only $7 billion, less than 12% of what the war might have cost the US. Could the US have prosecuted the war so quickly and forcefully without strong international support? This is an economic as well as a political question. Did the US have the political will to fight such a war without the substantial international support? Given the current disinclination in the US to support international activities, this is an especially important question.

How might those that paid for the US operation have affected that

operation? The advantage of working in a large coalition is that there are more resources and more political capital to accomplish a given end. The problems associated with a large coalition are the compromises and constraints that must be adhered to so as to maintain that coalition. While there was general agreement that Iraq should be removed from Kuwait, there was less consensus that Iraq should be invaded and the Iraqi government replaced.

Why discuss Iraq’s pre Gulf War problems?

Consider a rigid dictatorship with a collapsing economy and overextended debt. The government has the largest military in the region (A) and is close to most of the world’s proven reserves of petroleum (B). In addition, the government has already attempted unsuccessfully to invade one neighbor (Iran) and has forcefully suppressed a revolt by its own population; in both cases using chemical weapons (C). There is evidence the government is attempting to produce nuclear weapons (D). Shouldn’t such a government be watched very closely?

Strangely, Iraq was not watched more closely, either by the US or by the other major powers at the time.

There was little opposition to the Iraqi invasion of Iran by the Gulf

States and by the Developed World. Was this a mistake? Even though the Iranian Government was despised in the US and elsewhere, should the principle of national sovereignty been upheld? Ironically, by not

upholding the principle of sovereignty, the world ends up with two

unprincipled regimes. Iraq invades another country, Kuwait. Iran,

feeling conspired against, supports terrorist groups.

The Iraqi Government is culpable for its action but there are larger

lessons that the US and the rest of the world can learn from the Gulf

War. One lesson is to watch carefully those countries with overwhelming debt and large standing military, but this is an old lesson. The interesting question is, given these conditions with Iraq so strategically located, why wasn’t it watched more closely?



0.”Iraqi ground forces were the largest in the Persian Gulf at the time of the invasion of Kuwait… Iraq ground forces had more than 5,000 main battle tanks, 5,000 armored infantry vehicles, and 3,000 artillery pieces larger than 100mm.” (1) A.”The Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) produce 26 percent of the world’s oil, while holding 64 percent of the world’s oil reserves.” (2) B.Iraq first used chemical warfare (CW) against the Iran during the Iran-Iraq war in 1984 but did not develop an effective offensive doctrine involving chemical warfare until 1988 (1). Iraq also used CW to put down Kurdish uprisings including the gassing of the Kurdish village of Halabja in March 1988 in which between 2,000 and 4,000 people died (3). C.Iraqi nuclear capability was very difficult to assess due to the extraordinary secrecy imposed by the Iraqi government. After Israeli jets destroyed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in June 7, 1981, the CIA estimated that Iraq was expected to build a nuclear weapon in three to five years. That estimate was not updated (3). In March 1990, a joint US-British sting operation prevented the illegal export of US-built nuclear device-triggering components by Iraqi front companies (1).

If the Weapons of the Gulf War were so good..as General Norman and the Rest of the DoD experts have testified to in Congressional Hearings and at the PAC? Why did we have to spend Million’s of Dollars to make them work for today? if they destroyed the Chemical and Biological materials in 1991..why is the Secretary of Defense worried about disbursal of those products today? remeber…DoD said that there was no danger from these materials when they destruyed them in 1991..and that our troops were in no danger from such exposur’s..were the representatives of the Department of Defense Lying then..or are they Lying now? Chemical: enough to kill millions

IRAQ’S WEAPONS PROGRAMMES AND U.N. ATTEMPTS TO MONITOR THEM Iraq has already used chemical weapons in anger. From 1983 on, there were credible reports that Iraqi forces were using them in the war with

Iran. Then in 1988 came clear confirmation that Iraqi government troops had unleashed chemical weapons on the town of Halabja in Iraqi

Kurdistan. At least 3,000 people were killed in a mustard gas and sarin attack in this one incident. There may have been many others.

Some Gulf War veterans associations claim Iraq used chemical weapons in the 1991 Gulf War but this has not been conclusively proved (more

support groups for sufferers of Gulf War syndrome say the mysterious

illnesses which have hit soldiers are caused by faulty antidotes to

chemical weapons administered by their own armies). In the inspections programme, Iraq has acknowledged production of more

than 200,000 chemical weapons. UNSCOM itself has destroyed over 40,000 chemical weapons and nearly 500 tonnes of chemical warfare agents. This is an astonishing amount given that a couple of drops – or a few grams – of some of these agents is enough to kill.

The main facility for CW research and production was the Al-Muthanna

State Establishment, but there were other plants in the Fallujah area, south-west of Baghdad.

There are still some gaps in the knowledge of Iraq’s chemical warfare

programme from the end of its war with Iran in August 1988 until the end of the Gulf War in 1991. It was during this period that Iraq tried to convert many of the short-range weapons it possessed into long-range strategic weapons.

8 February 1998, Gulf War 98 will commence within the next week unless Saddam Hussein offers to open sites to UN weapons inspectors. The outcome of President Clinton’s intent to bomb Iraq is unknown but one thing is for sure, that being that Gulf War ‘98 will be completely different from the one of seven years ago. The United States has been warned by Russia that any US attack on Iraq could lead to World War III. The US no longer has the support that it did from countries such as France, Saudi Arabia and Syria in 1991. As of today the United States has the support of one country, that being Britain. If the US attacks then the future of not only Iraq but of the whole world is grim. Weapons technology has increased in the last seven years at the same rate of computer technology. Look at the computer you are working on now and think of the computer you were using back in ‘91? The Non-nuclear weapons of 1991 were quite capable of wiping out entire civilizations with one hit. If World War III does break out involving countries such as Russia and Israel then the war is unlikely to last any more than one month until there are no survivors, that is in a Non-nuclear crisis. If a Nuclear crisis should occur then countries with Nuclear capacity such as Russia and Israel could easily send thousands of Nuclear Equipped Scud Missiles to every country on earth within 24 Hours, completely wiping out all of civilization.

Saddam Hussein remains a powerful, yet harsh leader of Iraq. In Iraq,

Saddam had the most powerful army of the Arab world. Even with one of

the strongest artillery, he had a history of strategic disasters. His

goal was to become the ruler of the Middle East and his pride wouldn’t allow him to settle for any less (Dickey 34). After an unsuccessful war with his neighbor Iran, his next target was Kuwait. Kuwait was a great source of oil, and Saddam thought it belonged to Iraq, as it had in the past (Dickey 35). On August 2, 1990, Saddam invaded Kuwait, and Saddam was suddenly faced with an allied coalition against him, which he hadn’t expected. Saddam was premature in his invasion of Kuwait, it mounted to be a disastrous mistake (Dickey 34). The miscalculations and mistakes during the Gulf War, led to Saddam losing the war, but maintaining his regime.

Saddam underestimated the power of the coalition against him. Saddam

couldn’t see what was coming when he found Iraq slashed with US laser

guided missiles (Dickey 34). He found himself under an allied

bombardment of the Iraqi capital (Dickey 35). Even though Saddam may not have minded, the casualties reached up to one hundred thousand over the course of the war(Barry 39). Even when the allies were able to maintain a “blitzberg” blasting through Iraqi defenses, with few casualties, Saddam still didn’t see, or didn’t want to see, what he was up against. This great miscalculation cost Saddam Kuwait, the war, and his great power. Saddam may have underestimated the allied forces, but he also underestimated his own defenses.

Saddam put too much confidence in his weapons system. Iraq had a 5

hundred thousand man army, with 7,000 tanks, and 3,000 artillery pieces. Saddam was positive this would be enough to outnumber the opposing coalition. He had top-of-the line Soviet planes, but even those were a whole generation behind US technology. This left Iraq with little air defense. Without a view from the air, it was hard for Saddam to see the “chessboard,” or how the “playing field” was set up (Barry 40). With little resistance, the US was able to take Iraq from the air. Even though Iraq had insufficient air defenses, the US didn’t want to take any chances, so the weakened them even more using well developed computer viruses.

US spies were able to slip through Saddam’s poor security to plant a

virus in Iraqi computers. US agents placed a microchip, provided by the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, MD, in a French-made computer. The virus now planted in the printer, connected to the main-frame, uploaded onto the main-frame computer, and disabled much of the already insufficient air defenses. Saddam wasn’t even aware he had been sabotaged (US News & World Report staff 2). While Saddam’s forces were weak, his pride kept him going.

One of Saddam’s biggest mistakes was letting his pride run the war. Had it not been for his pride, Saddam may not have made his biggest mistake of invading Kuwait. Saddam would give up his pride at the very end, and not easily. This pride made him predictable, and self-destructing. Even when Saddam realized the US could wipe out cities, his elite “Republican Guard”, and maybe even kill him, his pride made him continue. His pride and insularity were his major problems (Dickey 35). Nearing the end, Saddam bluffed, making it seem as though he had given up his pride, and was ready to give in.

On February 22, 1991, under allied bombs, Saddam proposed a

“withdrawal;” but it turned out to be a hoax, and a mistake. When word got out that morning, many Iraqis and Americans alike were cheering. It was too good to be true. When finally reviewed by President Bush, it was learned the surrender was much less than acceptable. It had many preconditions and even some new ones. Saddam should have withdrawn unconditionally, but his pride and poor tactics drove him to continue playing with US tolerance (Watson 16). This was the last straw and the US, with its allies, set up to end Operation Desert Storm.

The US was prepared and ended the war with a victory. US intelligence

had notched up the American coalition a few weeks prior to Operation

Desert Storm (US News & World Report staff 2). The US General

Schwarzkopf first led F-117 stealth bombers through Iraq to clear the

way for more conventional fighter planes. With these he was able to

heavily damage Saddam’s defenses from the air using smart-bomb

technology. Preparing for a ground war, Saddam dug in his defenses

(Barry 40). “By digging in his armor, Saddam ‘threw away’ any offensive advantage, and reduced his tanks to little more than pillboxes,” said military historian Bryan Perret. Schwarzkopf was able to fool Saddam and take him from behind. This surprise sweeping maneuver outflanked the enemy, and “slammed the door” on any retreat. After a 100 hour ground battle, and 150 allied casualties, the war was over (Barry 39). Saddam had lost almost everything, but the allies made the mistake of not completing what they started.

Saddam lost the Gulf War, but kept his life and his battered regime. The US failed to carry out the CIA plan to kill Saddam Hussein. The effort to kill Saddam came on a February 27, 1991 bombing mission by two F-117F bombers on the al-Taji air base, approximately 15 miles North West of Baghdad. Here Saddam was believed to be hiding in a bunker deep in the ground. The bunker was hit three times, but little damage was done; Saddam wasn’t even there. The 100 hour ground war was planned to last 144 hours. Bush’s decision to end the ground war after 100 hours was influenced especially by the pressure from Egypt and Saudi Arabia (US News & World Report saff 2) Bush later said, “It is disappointing that Saddam Hussein remains in power and is still brutal and powerful, but that in no way diminishes the highly successful effort to stop the aggression against Kuwait.” On February 15, 1991, in a poll taken by The Gallup Organization, 37% of Americans said “It will be a victory for the US if Saddam withdraws from Kuwait but remains in power (Watson 16).” By the end of the war the next month, most were convinced Saddam had lost the war, but it cannot be denied he kept his power and his regime.

The miscalculations and mistakes of the Gulf War, led to Saddam losing the war, but maintaining his regime. Saddam underestimated his enemy and himself. He got into a war prematurely. As seen in the world today, Saddam allows his pride to get him into more and more trouble. He would never give into the US willingly in front of his advisors, in fear of his pride, and possibly his life. Neither side went without mistakes. If the US had carried out their task, Saddam would not be creating world problems today. The US was able to hold Saddam from succeeding in his attempt to conquer the Middle East eight years ago. This problem may rise again very soon; hopefully then, we will finish what we started.

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