May 10

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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RF
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Re: May 10

Post by RF » Wed Jun 29, 2011 1:38 pm

Not just the will to win it, but the means with which to win it.
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Re: May 10

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:03 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
Elimination of Saddam Hussein doesn't seem unreasonable
Dammit! Getting rid of Saddam then was the only reasonable thing to do.
Not really. It wasn't an unreasonble course of action but it wasn't the only reasonable one either.
Again: it's like landing in Normandy, fight the Germans out of the occupied countries and then letting Hitler alone "in his own borders".
It most emphatically was not.
... I don't even know how a discussion like this one takes place: haven't the US had to invade Irak in 2003, occupied the country and get a lot of international opinion flak that could have been avoided in 1991.
But of course the "international opinion flak" would not have been avoided in 91 indeed it could well have been worse.
It's obvious: just ask any infantry soldier that served there.
I suspect that not all infantry who served there would agree and even if they did it doesn't mean that it would have been the correct course. Indeed I suspect that we are in a better position now than we would have been if we had proceeded as you suggest. Of course that's taking the advantage of knowing what has happened as a consequence of those decsions.

I will point out that this is really OT for both this thread and this sub forum.

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Re: May 10

Post by RF » Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:09 pm

lwd wrote:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:
Again: it's like landing in Normandy, fight the Germans out of the occupied countries and then letting Hitler alone "in his own borders".
It most emphatically was not.
But this is exactly the impression that I have been given.

If it was not then how does it square with allowing Saddam Hussein to survive?

Many people who rose up inside Iraq in the weeks after the Desert Storm offensive was halted did so in the belief that the Coalition wanted to see Saddam Hussein ousted but internally. What then happened was that 'Saddam Hussein was ''left alone in his borders'' and the risings were ground down and crushed by the remainder of Saddam Husseins' Republican Guard and air force that had survived Desert Storm. Only after these risings were crushed were ''no fly zones'' dreamed up - why? Just to satisfy opinion, to go through the motions? When it was known that Saddam Husseins' forces wouldn't need to be so active and could hide on the ground under cover?
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Re: May 10

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:32 pm

RF wrote:
lwd wrote:
Karl Heidenreich wrote: Again: it's like landing in Normandy, fight the Germans out of the occupied countries and then letting Hitler alone "in his own borders".
It most emphatically was not.
But this is exactly the impression that I have been given.

If it was not then how does it square with allowing Saddam Hussein to survive?
Among the allies in 1944-45 there was a very definite consensus that Hitler and the Nazi's needed to go. Furthermore there was the spector of the Soviets taking all of Germany if the West didn't continue on the offensive. In 1991 there was no such consensus among the allies involved furthermore there was some thought that taking Sadam out might result in Iran picking up the pieces. So your have a dramatically different situation.
Many people who rose up inside Iraq in the weeks after the Desert Storm offensive was halted did so in the belief that the Coalition wanted to see Saddam Hussein ousted but internally. What then happened was that 'Saddam Hussein was ''left alone in his borders'' and the risings were ground down and crushed by the remainder of Saddam Husseins' Republican Guard and air force that had survived Desert Storm. Only after these risings were crushed were ''no fly zones'' dreamed up - why? Just to satisfy opinion, to go through the motions? When it was known that Saddam Husseins' forces wouldn't need to be so active and could hide on the ground under cover?
Some of those in the coallition really wanted to see Sadam outsted. Encouraging the internal rebelions was one way they saw of doing this. I'm not at all convinced that proceeding as they did was a good idea, indeed if we were encourageing we should have provided more support as well but then I wasn't party to all the correspondence. Indeed going after Sadam in 91 made a lot of sense to me but I wasn't the one dealing with all the coalition members or the UN either.

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Re: May 10

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:44 am

lwd:

You are just argumenting for the sake of it. How tiresome!
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Re: May 10

Post by Byron Angel » Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:00 am

It was commonly understood at the time that the price of Saudi andArab support of and participation in Desert Storm was the agreement on the part of the USA that the goal was to be limited to driving Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and that the USA would not seek to impose a regime change in Iraq. On that score, the elder Bush scrupulously kept his promise made to the Saudis. Desert Storm would simply not have been logistically practicable without Saudi and Gulf Arab cooperation, and, from a geo-political point of view, breaking such a promise once made would have been completely disastrous to the US diplomatic position in the Middle East, whatever condition one may think it to be in today, two decades later.

In short, deposing the Baathist regime in Iraq as a component of Desert Storm was simply not in the cards.

B

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Re: May 10

Post by RF » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:52 am

lwd wrote: Some of those in the coallition really wanted to see Sadam outsted. Encouraging the internal rebelions was one way they saw of doing this. I'm not at all convinced that proceeding as they did was a good idea, indeed if we were encourageing we should have provided more support as well but then I wasn't party to all the correspondence. Indeed going after Sadam in 91 made a lot of sense to me but I wasn't the one dealing with all the coalition members or the UN either.
On that I can entirely agree.

The view in that first sentence quoted should have been promoted to the Saudi's and the other Gulf states quietly behind the scenes, together with formulating a plan for post Desert Storm Iraq. Having an alternative Iraq government in exile in place would have been a start.
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Re: May 10

Post by RF » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:05 am

Byron Angel wrote:It was commonly understood at the time that the price of Saudi andArab support of and participation in Desert Storm was the agreement on the part of the USA that the goal was to be limited to driving Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait and that the USA would not seek to impose a regime change in Iraq.
In short, deposing the Baathist regime in Iraq as a component of Desert Storm was simply not in the cards.
This was the public view of the Saudi's.

But the Saudi's didn't hold the major cards. Yes they provided the bases and land platform for the ground and air forces for the coalition. But Saudi Arabia was directly threatened by the Iraq invasion of Kuwait. There were three violations of Saudi territory by Iraq that we know about, including Iraqi occupation of the oilfields in the Neutral Zone.

I suspect that in private the Saudi's would have assented to replacing the Ba'athist regime in Iraq if they had been presented with an alternative government for Iraq that was friendly to Saudi Arabia and above all credible to the Iraq people.

But that of course is being wise after the event.
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Re: May 10

Post by lwd » Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:56 pm

RF wrote:... I suspect that in private the Saudi's would have assented to replacing the Ba'athist regime in Iraq if they had been presented with an alternative government for Iraq that was friendly to Saudi Arabia and above all credible to the Iraq people. ....
I suspect they also wanted an Iraq strong enough to counter balance Iran. That may well have been the sticking point, especially if the removal of Sadam involved the destruction of the Iraqi army.

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Re: May 10

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:52 pm

Lee:
I suspect they also wanted an Iraq strong enough to counter balance Iran. That may well have been the sticking point, especially if the removal of Sadam involved the destruction of the Iraqi army.
I concur with Lee in the appraisal of what those in charge expected to happen. It's very MacNamarian or Kissingerian. I have been ALWAYS of the idea that the real threat has always been Iran's fundamentalism goverment and not necesary Saddam outright agressive actions. The problem is that when 1991 war was already a reality the western world cannot abide to fictional rules as those that the allies (not only the US) tried to apply. In this case McArthur's recommendations and comments of Corea are the only ones that can he healthy. Of course that will very possibly mean a standoff with Iran.
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Re: May 10

Post by RF » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:07 pm

lwd wrote: I suspect they also wanted an Iraq strong enough to counter balance Iran. That may well have been the sticking point, especially if the removal of Sadam involved the destruction of the Iraqi army.
Logically a post war Iraq under a new regime - even such as that of today - would have a stronger army than a post war Saddam regime, not least in that it is western trained and on the coalition side.....

The real fear I believe was of religous fundamentalism and of the possible ''balkanisation'' of Iraq into up to three different tribal /religous statelets; had a strong alternative Iraqi regime to Saddam had been available then those fears could have been reduced.
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Re: May 10

Post by RF » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:12 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: Of course that will very possibly mean a standoff with Iran.
Which basically is what happened anyway - together wioth a second Gulf War, which I consider to have been avoidable.
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Re: May 10

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:48 pm

RF:
Which basically is what happened anyway - together wioth a second Gulf War, which I consider to have been avoidable.
Correct, and due in great part because of the inability of Collin Powel of not take counsel of his fears. Stonewall Jackson or Wellington would have never taken such a course of action.
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Re: May 10

Post by lwd » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:03 pm

Indeed at least the version of the third gulf war that occured was avoidable by removing Sadam in 91. Where to go from there though. From the world view of 91 would things have been better if we had? Looking back on things now I suspect they would have been worse but that's using hindsight unavailable at the time. Indeed in some ways the current situation with AQ turned out better than we could have perhaps hoped for becasue the US screwed up the early post invasion planning.

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Re: May 10

Post by RF » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:41 pm

lwd, to answer the question in your second sentence I believe that if the post-war situation for Iraq had been properly planned, thrashed out and agreed with the Saudi's in 1991 the answer should be yes.

But as you say, it is all with hindsight.
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