…like I did, yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the start of the first Persian Gulf War. Josh Marshall explores why there has been very little recognition of the anniversary in the U.S. media. He sees the war as a pivotal moment in the history of U.S.-Arab relations. It was one of many flash points, including the fall of the Shah of Iran, in a decades-long history of events leading up to 9/11.
Meanwhile, a writer at Balloon Juice wonders if the war’s anniversary was forgotten because Desert Storm itself wasn’t “tough” enough for the chattering classes in Washington:
While that war was certainly anything but perfect, it had a clear, circumscribed aim. It was backed by a real coalition of willing partners, it was executed quickly and precisely with overwhelming force, and there was no nation-building involved. We got in, accomplished a limited task, and got out with a minimum expenditure of blood and treasure.
Because the Persian Gulf War made a hard thing look easy, Villagers didn’t learn the real lessons of that war. In their eyes, the Gulf War became a failure because we didn’t get Saddam, and Iraq remained a dictatorship. Even though he accomplished the fairly rare diplomatic feat of uniting a disparate coalition of countries that committed significant resources, George H.W. Bush was a wimp because the agreement that led to the coalition kept us from a glorious march to Baghdad. Despite the clear success of the Powell Doctrine, Colin Powell was too timid because he didn’t endorse an occupation of Iraq. Only Dick Cheney was wise enough to understand that the real lesson of Iraq is that we need to do it again, and that made him tough and serious.
My response to the anniversary: Holy crap, 20 years?