Operation Desert Storm: 20 Years LaterAnalysts: withdraw was the right thing to do.By Nik RajkovicMonday, January 17, 2011
It has been two decades since Americans became glued to their radios and television sets as coalition forces began to bomb Baghdad.
Just like many of us, retired Army General Bill McClain also was watching the coverage on television, but from inside a briefing room at the Pentagon.
He says although the first assault came as somewhat of a surprise, the U.S. military began preparing the day Iraq invaded Kuwait.
“We knew it was going to come, because Saddam Hussein wouldn’t give up on anything,” says McClain. “It was a good feeling to say now this is getting started.”
In what appeared to be an easy victory for U.S. forces, some still question the decision to pull back without taking out Iraq’s leadership, adding we could have avoided the most recent conflicts in the Middle East.
But Texas A & M military history professor Joseph Dawson says Bush One made the correct call.
“The American military as strong as it was,” says Dawson. “We still did not have complete plans for occupying the country.”
For those who argue we could have prevented going back or even the events of 9/11, former ambassador Ryan Crocker disagrees.
“I would see no connection at all to 9/11,” Crocker says. “Osama bin Laden simply didn’t care about those things, operating on a completely different ideological structure.”
In fact, all agree that the time between the two Gulf Wars allowed U.N. sanctions to set it, and U.S. officials to develop a plan for occupancy before Operation Iraqi Freedom got underway in 2003.