When most Americans remember the Gulf War, it is often thought of as a quick, concise, yet the intense military campaign that resulted in an easy victory. The proverbial battle between good and evil was the conception. In reality, a host of troubles within the conflicts of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, which became known as The Gulf War of 1990-1991 ensued.
As the war progressed, the U.S. Military dealt with staggering numbers of unnecessary deaths of soldiers within its own, within the troops of the allies, and the unfortunate rising death toll seen in the Iraqi civilian population. Many more catastrophes were avoided due to the incompetence of the Iraqi military, or just by the chance of pure luck alone. Friendly fire was the cause of 24 percent of all Americans killed in action during the war. According to Andrew Rosenthal’s “No Choice But Force Bush Declares” in the New York Times, as critical as the statistics sound, 35 of the 146 Americans killed in action were killed by their own compatriots. This is a figure, that military officers consider as relatively low. “You have to put the number of friendly casualties in context,” says Jack Jacobs, a retired Army Colonel who received the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. “Anything larger than zero is a lot. But with so few casualties overall, the friendly fire number seems large. The reality is, it is a lot lower than it would have been for a similar operation in Vietnam or World War II.” It was surely a travesty, that a considerable sum of British troops also fell victim to more U.S. weapons than those weapons used by Iraqi forces. In addition to the distinct danger that ensued from the warzone, and the battlefield, there was harsh criticism post war on two training fronts; the first was the insufficient preparations of the troops in the use of dangerous chemical warfare, both biological and chemical.
Secondly, was exhaustion that was experienced by soldiers on all sides. The extreme overuse of, as they became known as, “Go Pills”. Steady and continuous dosing to our soldiers of these amphetamines, causing addiction issues for many soldiers, so that they may endure long spans of time and alertness on long missions and during the long days and even longer nights in a warzone.
Also, gross miscalculations about the effectiveness of vaccines for soldiers placed the entire forces, we were dependent upon at risk. The revengeful spirit within the occupying forces of Iraq, along with the Iraqi Republican Guard’s determination to survive also had grim consequences: the health condition known as the Gulf War Syndrome, a medically unexplained illness that affects veterans off this war and is diagnosed by evaluating a variety of symptoms which include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems, according to The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.