|George H. W. Bush statue|
His funeral services are over now. "41" is now at rest next to his beloved Barbara and daughter Robin. His enduring historical monument will forever be his incredible performance as Commander of Chief in assembling and leading the coalition that drove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in 1991. Very few Allied lives were lost and he even got the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to foot most of the bill!
George H.W. Bush was a warrior, a gentleman, a loving husband and father. Let us never forget his devoted service to our country.
In honor of George H. W. Bush, a true American hero, I present the full Kuwait chapter of America Invades. George H.W. Bush RIP.
"Kuwait is a small oil-rich (very oil-rich) nation on the northeastern corner of the Persian Gulf that has borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The Al- Sabah family has ruled since 1938. From 1899 until 1961, it was a British protectorate. The United States recognized it as an independent nation in 1961.
Iraq has a long-standing claim to Kuwait and traditionally saw as part of its territory. Almost as soon as Kuwait was independent, Iraq made threatening moves against it. British troops had to rush in once again until things settled down.
American oil companies established trading links with Kuwait and other Gulf states early on, and after Britain’s retreat from empire, the United States eventually took over the British position as the chief protector of Kuwait.
Our first major military action in support of Kuwait took place during the long, bitter Iran-Iraq war. Fearing that revolutionary Iran’s influence might spread in the Gulf, Kuwait was, despite Iraq’s claims on Kuwait, supportive of the Iraqi war effort. Iran, angered by this and by Iraqi attacks on its oil industry, started to target oil tankers linked to places it regarded as supportive of Saddam. Kuwait requested American protection for its tankers, and to protect vital oil supplies to the world, we gave it. Operation Earnest Will starting in the summer of 1987 involved reflagging Kuwaiti ships with the American flag and then the USN escorting them through waters where they were vulnerable to Iranian attack. The mission came to an end after the war did in the summer of 1988.
However, this is not the main operation people tend to think about in association with American military operations and Kuwait.
Saddam Hussein decided to do something about Iraq’s long-standing claims to Kuwait and launched his invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Saddam had, however, seriously miscalculated America’s intentions and capabilities. Only six days later, President George H. W. Bush announced the deployment of US troops to Saudi Arabia to preempt further Iraqi aggression. Eventually, over half a million US troops were deployed to the Middle East.
Operation Desert Shield was to be a multi-lateral coalition force deployment with the armed forces of thirty-four different nations. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War had made multi-lateral action possible. Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait was viewed as a direct challenge to the central mandate of the United Nations. Shortly after Saddam’s invasion, the UN Security Council, in a series of resolutions, condemned Iraq, issued trade embargoes, demanded an immediate withdrawal from Kuwait, and authorized the use of “all necessary means” to liberate that country. Saddam, however, ignored the UN threats.
An intensive six-week air campaign began on January 17, 1991, targeting vital Iraqi infrastructure and military forces both inside Iraq and in Kuwait itself. Despite ring Scuds at Saudi Arabia and Israel in an attempt to drag Israel into the conflict, Iraq had little answer to the onslaught from cruise missiles, stealth aircraft, B-52s, and a wide range of other aircraft. Even before the ground war began, Iraq’s ability to resist had been seriously weakened.
The ground assault, Operation Desert Storm, began on February 24, 1991, and lasted only about one hundred hours. Much of the actual combat took place in Iraq as a massive allied thrust penetrated Iraqi territory to the west of Kuwait and then swung round towards Kuwait from that direction. The campaign was a complete mismatch. The American main battle tank, the M1 Abrams, destroyed over two thousand Iraqi tanks without a single Abrams destroyed by enemy fire.
Dire predictions of massive coalition casualties at the hands of the “elite” Republican Guard in the end proved unfounded. A total of 482 coalition deaths were reported in the First Gulf War, most of them due to accidents or friendly fire. By contrast, over twenty- ve thousand Iraqis were also killed in the course of the campaign, many on the “highway of death” as they attempted to retreat to Iraq. Iraq’s chemical weapons were never used.
A cease fire was agreed to in April of 1991. Coalition forces agreed to permit Saddam use of helicopters allegedly for humanitarian purposes. Uprisings against Saddam’s regime in Kurdistan and elsewhere, which might have toppled the regime, were brutally repressed by Saddam’s helicopter gunships.
The Kuwaiti government and Al-Sabah family were restored to power. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia largely financed the entire liberation of Kuwait (paying thirty-six billion dollars out of the sixty-billion-dollar total cost).
In 1993, Saddam was accused of authorizing an assassination attempt on President Bush while he visited Kuwait. Accordingly, in June 1993, President Clinton ordered a cruise missile strike on Baghdad.
When we invaded Iraq in 2003, Kuwait was where most of the invasion force assembled, and when the last US forces left Iraq almost nine years later, they crossed the border into Kuwait, the gate was closed behind them, and US and Kuwaiti forces shook hands and posed for photos.
Kuwait today remains a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a supporter of the global war on terror. We continue to have close military links with the country. For instance, Kuwait will host the major US multilateral exercise Eagle Resolve in 2015."
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Listen to my interview with Bob Cudmore...http://bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/tracks/ChristopherKelly(August2017)(29)(mp3).mp3
And my most recent interview...http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/08/17/america-invaded-christopher-kelly