The Gulf War and Postmodern Memory
Reflections on the Persian Gulf War from an officer who served in Operation Desert Storm.
When I returned from the Persian Gulf War 10 years ago, I sometimes found myself thinking--and less frequently found myself admitting to fellow veterans--that I wished the war had been bloodier. Not for Iraq. God no. For America.
The apparently flawless execution of Operation Desert Storm would, I thought, lead the army to conclude that its many systems required no serious rethinking. How, for example, would we have handled medical evacuation for significant casualties of an armored battle inside the enemy´s territory, hundreds of miles away from adequate medical facilities? My band of lieutenant friends recognized the army´s many imperfections, and, as young men do, cockily presumed to know much more than the experienced and knowledgeable people running the show. Those of us who had recently graduated from West Point just knew the military academy had become too soft, too nurturing--"kinder and gentler," in the parlance of our commander-in-chief. Our easy victory in the Gulf would hardly encourage a return to the days when West Point considered attrition a healthy culling process.
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