Saddam’s Scorecard from Desert Storm

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by alib, Feb 27, 2010.

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  1. From On War And Words Saddam’s Scorecard from Desert Storm
    Recasting obvious strategic set backs as victory is a pretty common event. Bankrupt and broken Britain survived WWII only to be shorn of its empire and humiliated over Suez but we call it victory, the historic reality was a more ambiguous result but real defeat after all looks like what happened in Poland.

    The necessity of putting a brave face on disaster
    Like Highway 80
    is rather familiar to a nation that still celebrates "The Dunkirk Spirit".

    Saddam's view is understandable, after Kuwait he broke the power of the Iraqi generals, the main threat to his rule. Survival may well have felt like a victory and led to a delusional sense of security, we all know where that led.
  2. Interesting lol
  3. Interesting article and plenty of food for thought in your comments. One of the major differences, of course, is that the Iraqi forces could not claim a single military success against the coalition during GW1, in contrast to British forces in WW2, who suffered a number of defeats and setbacks - especially early in the war - but achieved decisive victories that allow an objective judgement to be made that the war itself was a victory. The Battle of the Atlantic in particular was instrumental in turning the tide by 1944 and there is no need for spin or rose-tinted glasses to consider it a vital success. As you point out, however, the aftermath of the war is quite a different matter...
  4. I honestly don't think that the British leadership or its people drew conclusions in 1940 that were as deluded as those made by Saddam in 1991. The Dunkirk Spirt is more akin to 'Keep Buggering On' than snatching true victory from defeat - disaster of some sort is prerequisite in the use of the phrase. As for the empire? It's true enough that the cost of the war was horrific in terms of British power, but I think if you want to go down that road you have to ask how sustainable the empire was. We would likely have had to withdraw anyway, albeit more slowly, or we would have found ourselves in the situation Portugal found itself in the 60s and 70s. Suez was a mistake that could and should have been avoided regardless of WW2.
  5. Could Saddam have won in either 1991 or 2003? What if he had been able to stop the build up and resupply of Western forces then things would have been very different....
  6. The only victory's Saddam got out of Desert Storm were moral ones, the reality being that he was heavily humiliated during this campaign.
    Being that i am a veteran of this conflict, i almost miss the poor bugger now he's gone!
    He was a hell of a bloke in his time for sure, for all the wrong reasons.
    "THE MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES" he promised.
    "THE MOTHER OF ALL DEFEATS" is what he received!

    I wonder what he is doing now?...... Maybe he has been reincarnated in to a Desert Rat! L.O.L :D
  7. I remember listening to the radio stations evening reports of aircraft and vehicle losses and the broadcasts from Bahgdad, then driving along and seeing the wrecked vehicles and tanks and thinking, "What the Hell is Saddam on about?" Full marks for defiance in the face of adversity but the Iraq military was hopelessly outclassed from the start.
  8. I recall in 91 there was a great deal of press suggesting the Iraqi army would be a tough nut to crack. They had after all beaten the Iranians in a long bloody trench war. The big defensive earthworks the press predicted turned out to be shallow shit littered troughs in the desert sands.

    The later invasion was a forgone conclusion. Even the pessimistic regional experts thought Baghdad would fall in a few months. It was the aftermath that worried them.

    Now if he'd had a decent bio/nuclear weapons capability that might have been a game changer but the smart money thought that exceedingly unlikely. Though in 93 the same assumption was made and he turned out to be disturbingly close to attaining that.
  9. I think that Saddam was basically fooling himself when he moved into Kuwait.
    He had convinced himself that he was a necessary counterweight in the Western mind to the Iranians.
    He was convinced that his conventional forces, if dug in, would be so large that non-one would be able to muster the ground fire power to dig them out without massive, and unacceptable casualties.
    In short, he thought he had licence to move, and that there were not going to be any serious, non diplomatic responses.

    Once into Kuwait, he was unable to show weakness at home by withdrawing. He was then relying on the Coalition not being willing to take huge casualties in a frontal attack.

    Sadly for him, he had hopelessly overestimated his own air force's capabilities. As soon as it became obvious that he could not hold Kuwait, and the Coalition was not going to oblige by fighting stupidly, I believe he wrote off the whole expedition, and concentrated purely on staying in power after the ceasefire.

    Now, that was a military disaster, but from his point of view, quite a successful decision. He DID stay in power, and had enough security apparatus left to put down the Shia rebellion in the south, even if he had to let the Kurds go.

    I think that on the scorecard, in military terms he lost hugely, but from his point of view, it was a score draw. He may have lost a lot of men and equipment, but he was still in power, with added credentials as an Arab strongman who had faced up to the Great Satan and got away with it.
  10. Of course after Dunkirk Churchill did specifically broadcast to the British people that Dunkirk was a defeat
  11. It is quite an interesting article and although Desert Storm achieved its strategic aims (removal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait) and Allied Forces effectively defeated Iraqi Forces whenever they came into contact, a decisive victory over Iraq was never achieved.

    This was demonstrated only 3 years later when, despite Iraqi airspace being patrolled by allied aircraft and constant surveillance of Iraq, Saddam Hussein still managed to move the Republican Guard south towards the Kuwaiti border which necessitated the reinforcement of Kuwait by US and UK forces (Operation Driver).
  12. Wikipedia:

    Estimated as about 30,000 by Tommy Franks, up to 45000 maximum.
    Figures are quite unreliable.
  13. Are you calling tony blair a liar?!
  14. I always thought that Gen Schwartzkopf made a major error by not insisting that Saddam Hussain personally surrender to him in the desert. Saddam was always dressed in uniform and always emphasised that he was a great military leader, so Gen Schwartzkopf should have kept going until Saddam surrendered - not his generals.

    I don't think that the General comments on the surrender in his book but, if I can find it (ho bloody ho) I will check!

  15. I think that the problem was the Americans were still suffering from post Vietnam jitters and wanted to ensure that they withdrew as soon as the goal was achieved. They did not want to get involved whatsoever in regime change or nation building and only in a very limited way did they want to get involved in imposing restrictions on the Iraqi military post war.

    With hindsight, the surrender of Saddam and his close associates who, as you point out, were all uniformed military commanders in one way or another, probably wouldn't have been that difficult in March 1991. The Iraqi military could then have been limited to a purely defensive force. Of course it would have required a new UN mandate but that may not have been too difficult to pass.