The Eagle in the Desert: Looking Back on U.S. Involvement in the Persian Gulf War

The Eagle in the Desert: Looking Back on U.S. Involvement in the Persian Gulf War

The Eagle in the Desert: Looking Back on U.S. Involvement in the Persian Gulf War

The Eagle in the Desert: Looking Back on U.S. Involvement in the Persian Gulf War

Synopsis

This book is a reexamination of the Persian Gulf War by a number of academic and military historians to determine what we did right, what we did wrong, and how our performance could have been improved. This study addresses the questions: Why did the war happen? Was the Gulf War a vindication of Vietnam? Did the American military really learn anything from the war in Vietnam? Did they really adapt? What did the Allies actually win in the Gulf War, if anything? Finally, have we learned anything from the Gulf War? Some authors conclude that in retrospect many analysts have become convinced that, despite its military successes, the United States garnered little of worth from the Gulf War. Others believe a great deal was achieved, and others have withheld final judgement.

Excerpt

In the much ballyhooed motion picture MacArthur, the renowned actor Gregory Peck has one particularly poignant moment in the middle of the movie. It is near dawn off the Inchon coast. He is on the bridge of the invasion forces' flagship peering through his high-powered binoculars. One of his senior aides joins him as the first glint of sunlight crosses the skyline behind them. MacArthur looks at his aide and launches into a woeful stream of verbal doubts about the success of the daring Inchon Landing. "Colonel, this could be the shortest landing on record. What if the tides are too high, what if they have found out we're coming and are sitting out there waiting for us? Thousands of our boys will die, the Communists will win, and my career will be ruined!"

The aide, mouth gaping, is incredulous and amazed. After a long pause he declares, "General are you serious?" MacArthur replies, "Why, didn't you know that even I have doubts?" Relieved, the colonel smiles, and the general returns to his inspection of the landing. Of course, this was a movie. The scene is apocryphal. Although it could have happened, and to some degree is very truthful, it is one more case of Hollywood taking literary license to heighten the drama of a defining theatrical moment and an important historical event.

There are times when real life is even more dramatic than the movies. In September 1991, while at an Army War College--Georgia Tech Conference entitled Strategic Mobility, Forward Presence, and the Defense of Amer ican Interests . . .

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