|GULF WAR III?
(Yes it would be the third the first was the Iraq/Iran war)
|Overview: War with Iraq is not realy the "if" issue some would suggest, it is not in the when stage. Bush say nothing is decided yet, but it seems clear, he wants to go in regardless of what the UN, and Iraq do to try to prevent this. Before we go into this war, I think it is needed that we look back on what this war may cost in lives, security, and dollars. Also I find a great amount of myths, and incorect information on this issues, by the press, people on the street, and those in charge themselfs. Some just are mistatments, others are closer to a lie.
Just to start off, a look at some common views from the first Gulf War:
Myth: The First Gulf war had very low casualty rates for the US, and only 148 US battle deaths during the Gulf War, 145 nonbattle deaths, and 467 wounded in action. Truth: 34,000 where exposed to chemicals after the Khamisiyah chemical weapons facility was destroyed. These war vets have been found to be dieing at a rate of 10 times faster then the other 66,000 the pentagon has stated where exposed. These 34,000, where at first counted in the list of exposed, then removed saying they where not exposed. The toll on US troops was far greater then the numbers often given.
Myth: The Patriot Missile was a great success, as it stopped almost all the SCUDS fired. (I have heard numbers as high as 80%) Truth: The results of these studies are disturbing. They suggest that the Patriot's intercept rate during the Gulf War was very low. The evidence from these preliminary studies indicates that Patriot's intercept rate could be much lower than ten percent, possibly even zero." (Statement of Theodore A. Postol before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Operations, April 7, 1992) The reason is that the time needed for the Patriots missile to lock was just able to lock on quick enough to lock on the tail end of the missile. This led the missile to hit, and destroy part of the missile, but the warhead would still be intact. And being that it would hit shortly the SCUD was to hit its target, the momentum would already carry it to its target or close to it at least. What you saw on TV was a missile blowing up, but not the warhead. This worked fine in areas when if you can deflect them, but when it came to cities, all you did was allow the missile to kill others.
Myth: Saddam moved his troops into Kuwait with no warning, and without provocation. Initial reports showed they where rapping women, killing babies in Hospitals, and other horrible acts. Truth: Kuwait was cross-drilling oil from Iraq. (Drilling at a angle to get oil found under Iraqi territory. And no, I am not saying this is a legit reason to invade, but it was not as unproved as it seemed) Also The first reports where not of a civilian but of a High ranking officials daughter, who later told congress then she had lied before, both about actions being taken, and who she was. Iraq asked the United States if the US would take issue if Iraq where to "deal" with the issue. The US told Saddam that it would talk no interest. While attacking Kuwait was not said, it was strongly hinted at and given more or less an OK by the US. It can't be said for sure if the US really understood what Saddam was planning, or not. but I believe we knew something was going to happen.
Myth: Saudi Arabia was going to be taken over soon if the US/UN had not moved in. The Pentagon said that Iraq had thousands of troops on the border. Truth: The St. Petersburg Times (1/6/91) showed satellite photos of the border with Iraq, and showed no troop build-up. (Also reported by Project Censored) This was ignored by most news media, which choose to show Bush's speeches on why we had to protect against the troops who appear to be able to hide from Satellites in the desert.
Myth: If Iraq lets in the Inspectors as agreed the US will not go to war with Iraq. Fact: Bush and others have all pointed to Regime Change as the goal, not inspections. Outside of this point, the problems related to inspectors are many. First, Bush and NATO do not agree on what the rules of inspections should be, and Iraq most likely will not work with the US version. This act could be used to move our forces, but it does make it a bit harder to justify to the people and the world. Second, is that inspections will most likely fail to find the reserves of Chemical and Biological Agents they are looking for. US intelligence has pointed been told by Defectors from IRAQ that Saddam has used mobile units to store and work on some of the programs. If this proves true, it would be near impossible for inspectors to find and inspect.
Myth: Iraq kicked out the Inspectors in violation the treaty signed after the Gulf War. Bush has said it, Rumsfeld has said it, and nearly every recent report on the current debate has said this. And its not true. Fact: The head of Inspections pulled the inspectors out under his own will, saying they where not able to do the job. While this does point to issues of Iraq letting inspectors go when and where they needed to go, they did not in fact push them out of Iraq. Also as a note, a key US inspector was also found to be spying for the US. (Yes it would seem that they are clearly "spies" but he was getting info of subject matter not related to the inspections and sending it back to the US.) Iraq was not playing by the rules, but we also where not playing by the rules.
Myth: This will be an easy war like the last one. Bomb some sites, and move the tanks in and its over. Fact: (Ok this is not fact, but far more likely) The last war was fought in the Desert, with tanks against tanks, and planes against tanks and anti aircraft guns. This next war, while having those elements will have added city to city fighting, guerilla fighting, and even more civilian deaths then the last war (near 2,300, while not accounting in the more then a 100,000 who have died under sanctions) For those who have watched or read "Black Hawk Down" this could be the type of fighting we run into (and Yes Black Hawk Down was a bit off in this regard from many reports I have read) Saddam has already started to plan for city to city war, and armed civilian areas know to be loyal to him, or groups loyal.
Myth: The US will not have to do most of the ground fighting, we will arm and train the Kurds of the North and South to do this, like we did in Afganistan. Fact: The Kurds have less of a central leader, and also have been down this road before with the US.
In 1991, Kurdish groups took over some nothern towns, after being funded and trained by the US. This actions was to be backed by the CIA, and US untill Saddam was taken down. The day before the Kurds movied the US backed out, leaving the Kurds without needed inteligence and help that they had planed on. Thousands died, and more where jailed ( and likey killed later) when the US did not hold to its deal udner Bush. This same thing was Repeated in 1996 when Bill Clinton pulled out hours before the move was made. Kurds had to be Airlifted out of the area to ovoid being taken by Saddam or killed. Will they trust the US again?
In 1994, two main Kurdish factions went to war with each other, killing 2,000. By 1996, they where back at war, and Iraq sent in its troops .When it comes time to rebuild, can they work out the problems without this type of fighting?