Icon Was the American Face of the Gulf War

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 31, 2012 | Go to article overview

Icon Was the American Face of the Gulf War


Byline: Rowan Scarborough, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The twist in the long military career of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf is that a 35-year Army soldier is remembered more for what he did in the air than on land.

Commanding his first war, the four-star infantryman decided on a strategy to eject Iraqi forces and liberate Kuwait that showcased air power Au the precision weapons and strike jets that had been developed (but gone mostly unused) in the preceding 20 years.

When Operation Desert Storm kicked off on the night of Jan. 17, 1991, he watched in a command post in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Au and the world witnessed explosions in Baghdad delivered by laser- and computer-guided bombs and missiles.

A new era in strategic bombing had begun, and Air Force fighter pilots suddenly had a favorite general, albeit an Army one.

Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf was a brilliant strategist and demonstrated this by the use of air power using the newly introduced precision weapons and stealth technology that many of his Army contemporaries did not fully appreciate, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, who flew scores of fighter missions in Vietnam, told The Washington Times.

It saved many American lives. His 42-day air campaign shaped the ground campaign such that our ground forces only engaged in a 100-hour ground campaign and defeated the Iraqis decisively. I rank him with Gen. [Dwight D.] Eisenhower at Normandy. No other Army general has duplicated such a feat in such a brief ground campaign.

Gen. Schwarzkopf, who died Thursday at age 78, became the American face of the Persian Gulf War.

The StorminAAE Norman Show featured a bear of a man standing before cameras, videotape at the ready, to show the world how he was taking down IraqAAEs political and military structure building by building, tank by tank.

He took special delight in one video Au an Iraqi vehicle clearing a bridge just as a missile destroyed it.

Keep your eye on the cross hairs, he told reporters at a January briefing. IAAEm now going to show you a picture of the luckiest man in Iraq, right through the cross hairs, and now in his rearview mirror.

As bombs hit Iraq, Gen. Schwarzkopf sparred with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from afar, calling him out on lies he told his people about American firepower.

Saddam Hussein has lied to them, Gen. Schwarzkopf said. He told them that Tel Aviv was a crematorium. We all know that is not true. To date, he has told them that he has shot down 170 American and coalition aircraft. Everybody knows that that is not true. He has announced that he was going to do all sorts of other wonderful things. With regard to Saddam Hussein saying that he has met the best that the coalition has to offer, I would only say that the best is yet to come.

Michael E. OAAEHanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, said the generalAAEs televised briefings help to instill confidence.

His personality on television was useful. It was a positive, bullish, optimistic way of looking at the conflict, which I think the country benefited from since there was a fair amount of concern about how that war would go, Mr. OAAEHanlon told The Times. It is easy to forget now. There were a lot of predictions of chemical weapons usage, of trench lines like World War I, of a lot of casualties. …

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