War Termination in the Persian Gulf: Problems and Prospects

By Garrard, Mark | Aerospace Power Journal, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

War Termination in the Persian Gulf: Problems and Prospects


Garrard, Mark, Aerospace Power Journal


Editorial Abstract: Did President Bush prematurely declare a cease-fire in Operation Desert Storm, before we met our political objectives? According to Colonel Garrard, as soon as a war has begun, one must immediately consider terms for termination and peacemaking. If not, an untidy conclusion is inevitable.

No one starts a war or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so, without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it ... Since war is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices made for it in magnitude and also in duration. Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow.

--Carl von Clausewitz

IN PREPARING FOR Operation Desert Storm, President George Bush formed an extraordinary coalition that decisively trounced Saddam Hussein's forces. Yet, a decade later, many people in the United States voice a growing dissatisfaction with the political results of that conflict. Indeed, some assert that the conflict has not yet ended.1 As we will see, the president publicly recognized the seeds of that discontent shortly after the cease-fire.

What went wrong? Did our objectives lack clarity? Did the coalition lack the means or will to achieve them? Were the objectives incompatible with each other? Did they change during the war? Should they have been modified? Did the National Command Authorities give adequate guidance to Gen Norman Schwarzkopf, commander in chief (CINC) of US Central Command (CENTCOM)? Did the CINC give adequate attention to war termination?

Perhaps one can illuminate the answers to these questions by examining war termination in the Persian Gulf through the prisms of interest, fear, and honor, which Thucydides identified 2,400 years ago as the three causes of war.2 War and war termination are indeed inseparable, and, although no two wars are identical, the strategy for waging and ending conflict remains eternal.3

Background

During the predawn hours of 2 August 1990, Iraq fulfilled its territorial objectives by quickly invading and seizing Kuwait. The international community faced the prospect of losing one of the world's major oil producers and witnessing the annexation of a sovereign state-the first such occurrence since World War II. To liberate Kuwait, a coalition authorized by the United Nations (UN) and led by the United States gradually built up forces in Saudi Arabia. Consisting of a diverse group of 28 nations' forces, which included over 650,000 troops, the coalition remained intact despite Saddam's best efforts to shatter it.

When the Iraqis refused to withdraw from Kuwait by January 1991, allied air forces destroyed key targets in and around Baghdad and bombed Iraq's armed forces entrenched within and around Kuwait, after which coalition ground forces quickly overran the remaining enemy troops.4 In military terms, the Gulf War was an overwhelmingly one-sided event and a clear coalition victory.

On 27 February 1991, President Bush unilaterally declared a cease-fire, proclaiming that "Kuwait is liberated. Iraq's army is defeated. Our military objectives have been met."5 He did not allude to the nation's political objectives. Soon, however, nagging questions arose about the "premature" termination of the war.6

The War-Termination "Process" in the Persian Gulf

If one intends any conflict to advance longterm interests, one must consider the essential question of how the enemy might be forced to surrender or, failing that, what type of bargain might work to terminate the war. Such questions combine both the political and military realms. Not only the military contest but also domestic and foreign-policy developments contribute to the war's outcome. Although the question of terminating a war should arise as soon as the war has begun or in the course of advanced planning, it tends to receive little or no attention in war plans. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

War Termination in the Persian Gulf: Problems and Prospects
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.