Air War Desert Storm (Desert Storm Specials 6121)
By Lou Drendel
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1991 64 Pages
PDF 71 MB
In all the debate over the conduct of the Vietnam War, a number of so-called "experts" repeatedly told us that Vietnam was proof ...once again...that airpower alone could not win a war. Bombing an enemy only hardens his will to resist. After the Vietnam War, these "experts" told us that the military budget was bloated by $600 toilet seats and $500 screwdrivers. They told us that "Star Wars" technology was at best "destabilizing" and at worst, money down the drain. They insisted that high tech weapons were too complex and they would not work in combat. They told us that our aircraft were too expensive and high tech to be reliable. They told us that we should buy lots and lots of "cheap" aircraft...aerial cannon fodder...which would match the enemy more closely in numbers.
The Vietnam War has been referred to as the "10,000 Day War." Operation DESERT STORM will be known as the "1,000 Hour War." In that thousand hours, all the arguments against the effectiveness of airpower and worth of our expensive high technology weapons were repudiated. It has been said that Generals always fight the "last" war. DESERT STORM proved this wrong — it was not Vietnam. From the President on down the Chain of Command, great pains were taken to make sure that this war would be fought under conditions which favored the Allied Coalition and on the Coalition's time table. President George Bush proclaimed that, "The military will not fight with one hand tied behind their backs...it will not be another Vietnam!" — and it was not!
When Saddam Hussein ordered his army to invade neighboring Kuwait on 2 August 1990, the world expressed outrage. President Bush took the lead in organizing a coalition of twenty-eight nations which opposed the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait. He pressed the United Nations to impose sanctions on Iraq and to issue resolutions that called for the immediate Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait and payment of war reparations. He backed up these demands by ordering the immediate deployment of over 200,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, under Operation DESERT SHIELD.
The purpose of the operation was to ensure that Iraq did not invade Saudi Arabia. When Saudi security was assured, the president applied more pressure by ordering a continuation of the military buildup which would give the coalition an offensive capability. He kept the pressure on by insisting on deadlines for Iraqi compliance with the U.N. resolutions. This was designed to deny Iraq room to maneuver on the political and/or propaganda fronts. The president circled his political wagons and made sure that domestic support for the war was assured by a winning a key vote in Congress before going to war. Shortly after the 15 January 1991 final deadline for Iraq to accept the United Nations resolutions passed, Operation DESERT SHIELD became Operation DESERT STORM.
After Vietnam the American military had been brutally honest with itself about enemy capabilities and its own shortcomings. The Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines began to train under more realistic conditions. They developed new tactics to take advantage of technological advances and they developed the right weapons for warfare on the modern battle field. When the time came to use these new weapons and tactics, they overwhelmed the fourth largest army and sixth largest air force in the world in only a few weeks.