The Gulf War: The Complete History

By Fontenot, Gregory | Military Review, November/December 2000 | Go to article overview

The Gulf War: The Complete History


Fontenot, Gregory, Military Review


THE GULF WAR: The Complete History, Thomas Houlahan, Schrenker Military Publishing, New London, CT, 1999, 471 pages, $21.00.

For many of us who served in Operations Desert Shield-Desert Storm, there is an almost surreal quality in the many accounts of the fighting and the war's significance.

Most accounts bear little resemblance to what we remember. Pundits now argue that the war was an anomaly or even an aberration that tells nothing about the possible future of warfare.

Before the war, doomsayers argued that the slaughter of US ground troops could easily top 10,000 and that the Army would not do well. They noted that the Iraqis were battle-hardened troops led by seasoned commanders. The US Army was too slow, badly trained and hampered by overpriced and overrated equipment. The MI guzzled gas, had too high a silhouette, cost too much, was too heavy and plagued by maintenance problems. The Bradley also had too high a silhouette and was a death trap.

After the war, some of the most vitriolic critics, who had predicted stalemate or possible defeat and huge casualties, had the courtesy not to speak. Others continued to revile the Army's leadership-units had been too slow, too cautious and fratricidal, and no lessons for the future had been learned. They said that in the future, high-tech systems for intelligence, targeting and communications would be the centerpiece of short, nearly bloodless campaigns.

In The Gulf War, Thomas Houlahan, a former airborne tanker and a commentator for a small market television station, argues that the pronouncements of the pundits before, during and after the war are overdrawn, to say the least. …

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