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Essay/Term paper: Why the persian gulf war was not iraqs fault

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

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At 2:00 A.M. (local time) on August second 1990, Saddam

Hussein sent the Iraqi military across the border into Kuwait,

and sparked a war whose repercussions are still being felt.

Today what eventually became known as the Persian Gulf

War, featured the largest air operation in history; and a

senseless destruction paralleled only to Danzig or Hiroshima.

Even though Saddam was the one who physically invaded

Kuwait, is balking at United Nations resolutions, and is

generally known as a tyrant. He should not be destroyed .

The Gulf War was nothing more than the United States

attempting to establish, as former President Bush so aptly

termed, the "New Order". The United States supported

Saddam Hussein and the Ba"ath regime prior to the Kuwaiti

invasion. They even gave Saddam a "Green Light" to go ahead

and invade. If Saddam were to leave power Iraq would either

be plunged into a Lebanon style civil war or face another ruler

no better than Saddam himself. The United States is

contemplating another invasion of Iraq, however it is having a

difficult time of gaining support of the Arab countries. While

many people in this country believe Saddam Hussein should

be destroyed, that he is a totalitarian dictator and gross

human rights violator. He is, in fact, a stabilizing force in his

country and the Middle-East, standing up to the only

remaining superpower.

The consensus currently prevalent in this country is that

Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, is a totalitarian dictator,

thirsty for blood and prestige, who seems dedicated to

disobeying the United States. It would seem Iraq is intent on

keeping United Nation inspectors out of its own country,

although technically "Iraq barred only American members of

the inspection teams from carrying on their work"(Nelan 54).

The Iraqi "Dictator" seems to have decided he would rather be

bombed than inspected. He apparently has no regard for the

international community, and yet still wants them to lift

sanctions. Also the Iraqi:

"government stopped Ritter from investigating sensitive sites,

calling him a spy and complaining that his team was too

"Anglo-American"... the Iraqis also revealed Ritter was looking

for evidence Iraq tested chemical and biological weapons on

humans - charge Baghdad called "a shear lie"" (Watson 34).

Those reports of human testing are obviously false. "[E]ven

Saddams strongest foes, including the C.I.A. seems to doubt

them(Watson 34)". In fact, the only testing done by Iraq was

on dogs. There were no inspectors around when the U.S.

committed the crimes at Tuskegee, or when hundreds of

servicemen were exposed to radiation during the atomic tests

in the sixties. The Iraqi "dictator" has stayed in power for

some 6 years since sanctions were imposed. The sanctions

were imposed supposedly to punish and weaken Saddams

power, freeing the people to take up arms and oust him.

However, the sanctions have hurt only the people of Iraq, and

if anything have strengthened Saddams position. If Saddam is

a human rights abuser as many maintain then, the U.S. is a

human rights abuser as well.

When the Soviet Union fell, the United States became the

sole superpower, thus, many countries no longer fearing the

U.S.S.R. began to loosen their ties with the U.S. The U.S.

soon found itself in a precarious position. It needed to a

reason for other countries to appease the U.S.; the country

also needed to demonstrate "the "New World Order" in which

a post-Cold War United States could operate without the

bothersome constraints of another world superpower"(Simons

3). The United States found itself in a unique position

immediately following the collapse of Communist Russia; it

was now the only superpower, with the most powerful military,

economic, and political might. It now needed to demonstrate

how the U.S. would behave without the check of another

equal power. An opportunity soon arose however; Iraq, whom

we supported the previous decade during the Iran-Iraq War,

began sending out hints that it might invade Kuwait. We

Essentially told Saddam go ahead (see below). When Iraq did

take over Kuwait the then President Bush decided to disprove

his alleged stereotype of being a wimp and decided that the

most powerful country on earth should wage war on a third

world county. A note on Bush"s foreign policy hypocrisy:

"at the time of the Gulf War George Bush was the one head of

state who stood condemned by the world court for "the

unlawful use of force". Bush contemptuously dismissed the

Court"s demand for the payment of reparations to Nicaragua,

while eager to demand reparations from Iraq. In 1975 Bush

had become head of the CIA, just in time to support the

Indonesian extermination of a third the population of East

Timor. He supported Israel"s invasion of Lebanon, and then

opposed U.N. resolution 425 demanding an immediate Israeli

withdrawal"(Simons 325).

President Bush was not the altuistic leader, courageously

standing up evil. Rather he embodied the global hypocrisy of

the U.S. in the modern world. The U.S. now began scurrying

around the globe threatening and buying consensus (there is

an advantage to being the largest provider of economic aid,

the U.S. can buy support buy offering the cancellation of debt

or threaten to halt humanitarian aid (Simons 321).). The

United States" War, nearly did not get U.N. approval. Once

the "World Consensus" had been bought the U.S. began one

of the largest air bombardments in history, destroying Iraq"s

infrastructure and murdering thousands of hapless conscripts

(Simons 345). Once Iraq was totally decimated by air, the

ground forces moved in burying hundreds of bodies in the

sifting sand in mass graves with no body count, and in direct

violation of the Geneva accords (Simons 346). Iraq was now

pushed to the lowest rungs of civilization. It was no wonder

then that with no running water, sanitation destroyed, low on

food, short on medical supplies, and still under U.N.

sanctions that the Iraqi people had, and still have, a vindictive

attitude toward the U.S.. What the U.S. did to Iraq is

inexcusable, the U.S. and more specifically George Bush

needed to prove themselves and they did at the expense of

the Iraqi people.

Iraq, a country formed by the British, had been racked by civil

wars and internal power struggles from the time the British

left, until Saddam came to power; if he were to quickly or

unexpectantly disappear from power, Iraq would be plunged

into a Lebanese style civil war and power struggle. From the

time the British left until Ahmad Hasan al- Bakr came to

power Iraq was in chaos, from a never ending power struggle

and civil unrest (Schmidt 547). The trouble for the U.S. is that

if it decided to eliminate Saddam it would be left with running

Iraq until a new leader could be found. There is also no

guarantee "that a successor to Saddam would be less hostile

to U.S. interests."Saddamism without Saddam is a real

possibility," says Richard Haass (Kramer 37). The new Iraqi

leader would be free from sanctions as everyone will want to

give the new guy a chance, thereby giving him time to rebuild

his country and military and again becoming a threat to the

ever important U.S. interests in the area. Also "a headless

Iraq would go the way of Lebanon, fractured among Kurds in

the north, Shi"ites in the south, and Sunnis in the middle

egged on by medaling neighbor states, pursuing oil and

ethnic interests"(McGeary 61). Saddam is indeed a stabilizing

force in the Mid-East, and were he to leave the scene, there

would be yet another area of the Mid-East engulfed in


It would seem the United States is again contemplating

launching a war on Iraq, it is having some difficulty drumming

up support. The leaders of Arab countries "have voiced strong

public objections to an attack on fellow Arabs in

Iraq"(Menaker 1A). The Arabs after being forced into the first

War are now openly expressing opposition to military actions.

They do not want thousands of Western troops running

amuck in their own countries. An attack on Iraq by the West

would strengthen extremist groups in these countries. In

many Arab countries, a "U.S. military strike could in fact,

produce "horrible repercussions" in the Arab world giving

ammunition to Islamic extremist"(Menaker 10A). This would

lead to a weakening of moderate support in these countries.

Thus, Arab countries would be less tolerant of the U.S.,

causing them to use their one effective weapon they have on

us, causing oil prices to skyrocket, Which would thereby

cause an economic slowdown in oil dependent industries. An

attack would also hamper the already stalled Palestinian

peace process, by increasing animosity toward the U.S. and

its allies especially Israel. An attack on Iraq would be

unpopular to the Arabs, and would have far reaching


The United States first began to destroy Iraq because Iraq

supposedly began a war with Kuwait; however, the Iraqi

invasion of Kuwait was justified, and supported by a majority

of the Arab world. In the spring of 1990 "Kuwait began in

direct violation of OPEC production quotas...flooded the

market with more oil then it needed" (Simons 305). Iraq, Iran,

and Saudi Arabia brought pressure on the small Sheikhdom,

urging it to observe prior agreements, and to work for the

collective benefit of the Arab community. Iraq already short on

funds, was hurt greatly by Kuwait when its revenue slumped

by more than two billion. Iraq was facing economic

suffocation. Undeterred "Kuwait having invested heavily in

refining and marketing facilities"(Simons 305), continued to

flood the market. It would seem Kuwait was waging economic

war on Iraq. Saddam knew the power of this tool; during the

Iran-Iraqi War, both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had worked to

flood the market and thereby damage Iran. Kuwait was in

direct violation of OPEC regulations. The other members were

incensed at the Kuwaiti attitude, and over the next few

months worked in vain to bring Kuwait in line using

argumentation and threat.In May, speaking before the heads

of state of the OPEC members:

"in a belligerent tone [Saddam] declared "War doesn"t mean

just tanks, artillery or ships. It can take subtler and more

insidious forms such as the overproduction of oil, economic

damage and pressure to an enslaving nation""(Simons 307).

The Kuwaiti"s economic War was decimating Iraq. So Iraq,

with the support of Saudi Arabia and Iran, massed its forces

on the Kuwaiti border. No longer content with punishing

Kuwait Saddam decided to assimilate all of Kuwait. Kuwait

now having waged economic war on Iraq faced a conventional

war it was not ready to fight. Therefore the leadership fled and

begged the U.S. for help.

The United States government accepted even supported

Saddam Hussein and the Ba"ath regime; in the crucial

moments before the Gulf War, the U.S. sent a "Green Light"

to Saddam. On the 25 of July 1990, the then U.S.

ambassador to Iraq produced the comment, which was

perhaps the biggest "Green Light" of all:

"I admire your extraordinary attempts to rebuild your country. I

know you need funds. We understand that, and our opinions

that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country.

But we have no opinion on Arab- Arab conflicts like your

border disagreements with Kuwait" (Simons 375).

Eight days later at 2:00 A.M. (local time) on August 2 1990,

the Iraqi military invaded Kuwait. By 11:00 A.M. (local time)

most of the capital"s key buildings were in the hands of Iraq.

The Kuwaiti Emir, tipped off an hour before, fled to Saudi

Arabia. The Iraqi invasion set in motion a series of events that

were to have consequences felt around the globe. In early

August 1990, the U.S. was already working to orchestrate the

"World Consensus," that was to decimate a third world

country. It was not the invasion that caught the U.S. by

surprise. The U.S. had figured that Iraq would merely attempt

to gain a better access to the Gulf. April Glaspie let the "cat

out of the bag in September 1990, [when] she commented

"obviously, I didn"t think-and nobody else did-that the Iraqis

were going to take all of Kuwait""(Simons 379). The U.S., it

would seem, did not mind Iraq taking part of Kuwait so long

as U.S. oil interests remained intact. What bothered the U.S.

was that America"s oil interest were now in danger. So when

Saddam misunderstood the U.S."s allowance of a partial

takeover as one for total takeover, Saddam signed his own


The United States would do well to try and not dispose of

Saddam. While many believe he is a cruel dictator, he in fact

is a stabilizing force in the region. The "Gulf War" was nothing

more than ruthless show of force on this third world country.

The United States gave Iraq the go ahead and later decided

that we should oust Saddam. His absence would cause much

larger headaches than the ones he periodically gives now.

Works Cited

Kramer, Michael. "The Cost of Removing Saddam." Time Oct.

24, 1994

McGeary, Johanna. "Time To Off Saddam?" Time Feb. 16,


Menaker, Drusila. "Possible Attack on Iraq Lacks Support."

Dallas Morning News Jan. 29, 1998 10-A

Nelan, Bruce W. "Hidden Killers." Time Nov. 17, 1997 54-55

Schmidt, Arthur Gold Jr.. A Concise History of The Middle

East. Boulder Co.: Westinghouse Press 1996

Simons, Geoff. Iraq: From Sumer To Saddam. New York: St.

Martin"s Press, 1994

Watson, Russell. "He Does it Again." Newsweek. Jan. 26,

1998. 34-35


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