The Gulf War Strategy
Following the Vietnam war there was a national perception that the United States was no longer a major military power. In actuality, the United States had not lost power but military authority. The difference between the two is explained in the following excerpt from On Strategy II: A Critical Analysis of the Gulf War by Col. Harry G. Summers:
Simply stated, military power, based on physical factors that can be counted and computerized, is the aggregate of the size of a nation's armed forces; the strength of its weaponry, arms, and equipment; and the sufficiency of its sustaining logistical base. Military authority, on the other hand, is based on the more intangible perceptions by other nations that such power will be used, if need be, in pursuit of national interests. While unquantifiable, it is nonetheless real.
These physical factors are the means of a Military Strategic Equation. A Military Strategic Equation is composed of the ends, ways, and means. The ends are the national policy objectives and national security objectives.
In regards to the Gulf War, the national policy objective Saddam Hussein overstepped was, he violated the freedom and democracy of the Kuwait people by invading their nation-state. Others include, preserving the independence of Saudi Arabia, a friendly relation, and to prevent Hussein's nuclear capabilities. For the Soviet Union the decision to allay itself with the United Nation force was economic. "If Saddam Hussein, by his rash act, were permitted to throttle the world economy by driving oil prices higher, inflation would quickly rise and the world economy- not just that of the United States and Europe- would tumble into a deep recession" hurting the Soviets too, says U.S. News & World Report book Triumph Without Victory.
The United States quickly mobilized choosing Collective Military Security, and Show of Force as the prime ways to defend the National Objectives. The ways consists of different military strategies examined as possible methods of stopping Hussein. Other ways the United States explored include Flexible Response, Forward Defense and Containment.
General Norman Schwarzkopf quickly led the United Nation Coalition into the middle-East. The forces are the military resources of the Means. The US force alone included over 527,000 personnel.
Protecting and enforcing the National Security Objectives required Military Strategy. The United States used the strategy of Sequential and Cumulative. Imposing sanctions on August 6, 1990 the United States crippled Iraq. The sanctions, were then made more forceful by the naval blockades, and embargo. Disease was the direct result of starving people in Iraq. The United States knew that by controlling the level of medicine being imported, cholera, typhoid and dysentery would grow to epidemic proportions. All trade to and from Iraq, medicine and food became weapons. The next step was the declaration of Desert...