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Desert Shield And Desert Storm And Weinberger's Tests For The Uses Of Military Power

Desert Shield And Desert Storm And Weinberger's Tests For The Uses Of Military Power

 

CSC 1992

 

SUBJECT AREA National Military Strategy

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

Title: Desert Shield and Desert Storm and Weinberger' s

Tests for the Uses of Military Power

 

Author: Major Stanley L. Hill, United States Air Force

 

Thesis: The Bush Administration met the six tests for the

use of military power as outlined by Casper Weinberger,

during the Persian Gulf War.

 

Background: The United States has had problems using the

military element of national power since World War II. The

problems have been twofold. First, the use of military

force has not been in concert with the other elements of

national power. Second the military has been given tasks

which it is ill-equipped to perform. During the Reagan

Administration, Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger,

refocused our attention to the proper use of military power

in his six tests.

 

The recent use of military power in Southwest Asia has

received favorable reviews: Our country "feels good" about

itself and our military. This is in stark contrast to the

way we felt post-Vietnam. I believe one of the reasons the

military was used effectively and received wide public

support, is the result of passing the tests defined by

Secretary Weinberger.

 

While I found no comments by anyone in the Bush

Administration that there was a conscience effort to apply

the Weinberger tests before the use of military force began

the Administration passed all six tests. The support of

this position is documented by review of the information

available in the national media at the time. The use of

military power, in support of government objectives, with

the backing of the American people, helped to make Desert

Shield and Desert Storm an example of how governments should

operate.

 

DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM

AND

WEINBERGER'S TESTS FOR THE USES OF MILITARY POWER

 

OUTLINE

 

Thesis Statement: The Bush Administration met the six tess for the

use of military power, as outlined by Casper Weinberger, during

the Persian Gulf War.

 

I. Background leading to Weinberger tests

 

II. Test one, our vital interests must be at stake

 

III. Test two, the issues involved are so important for the future of

the United States and our allies that we are prepared to commit

enough forces to win

 

IV. Test three, we have clearly defined political and military

objectives, which we must secure

 

V. Test four, we have sized our forces to achieve our objective

 

VI. Test five, we have some reasonable assurance of the support

of the American people

 

VII. Test six, U.S. forces are committed to combat only as a

last resort

 

 

DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM

AND

WEINBERGER'S TESTS FOR THE USES OF MILITARY POWER

 

 

"It' s a proud day for Americans. And, by God, we've

kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all." (104:223)

President Bush's statement at the end of the hostilities

against Iraq was a summation most military professionals had

worked their entire career to hear. Since Vietnam, the

military has fought to ensure there would be no more

Vietnams. However, the key is a government which knows how

to use military force effectively. The Reagan

Administration took many steps to prepare the United States

for war. One of the most important steps taken was by

Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, when he focused on

the use of military power. He did this in his remarks to

the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on November 28,

1984.

Our politicians have had difficulty in the use of

 

military power since World War II. This has been a major

 

concern, given the fact that the United States had become a

 

world power. In Korea, we were unprepared. The remarks by

 

Secretary of State, Acheson, which omitted Korea as an area

 

of our strategic concern, appeared to be a political

 

invitation for the use of military force by the North

 

Koreans. The United States responded by introducing

 

military forces which achieved early success. However,

 

changing political and military objectives turned success

 

into retreat, and eventual stalemate. The ensuing two years

 

of almost stationary battle, as the politicians talked,

 

resulted in confusion back home. How could a third world

 

force stagnate a world power? We were sacrificing

 

American's most precious commodity, our young men's lives,

 

and we were not committed to winning the war. The resulting

 

political, military, and public debates lead to the relief

 

of one of America's most highly regarded war generals,

 

Douglas MacArthur, and aided in President Truman's failure

 

to be re-elected.(33:352) We did not win the war and we did

 

not win the peace; Korea remains divided over 40 years later

 

-- not a desired effect from the use of military force.

 

In Vietnam, politicians once again used military force

 

poorly and suffered accordingly. President Johnson met the

 

same fate of President Truman, no re-election; one of the

 

key reasons, his inability to effectively use military

 

force.(51:335) Personally, I saw friction in our society

 

which appears to have been matched only by the Civil War.

 

It was during the later part of the Vietnam War that I

 

entered the U.S. Air Force Academy and felt part of

 

America's frustration being vented on me. I remember

 

vividly preparing to go to football games and being told to

 

expect to be spit upon to have my uniform desecrated and to

 

have students at other higher education institutions want to

 

start fights with me. I watched our forces return from

 

combat to be shunned by society, a society for which the

 

soldier thought he was risking his life. We did not win the

 

war and we did not win the peace; Vietnam remains under

 

communist rule -- not a desired effect from the use of

 

military force.

 

Vietnam and Korea were the two major uses of military

 

force since World War II and both failed to use military

 

force properly to achieve our stated national objectives.

 

This failure has been a topic of much discussion within our

 

society. It has been a topic of particular interest to the

 

military, who initially was the target for most of the

 

frustration the United States citizens felt. Since the

 

initial frustration, most citizens now understand the

 

military was executing the strategy conceived, and directed,

 

by our government.

 

It is this key link of political objectives to military

 

objectives which failed. It is the theory of Carl von

 

Clausewitz revisited. He states in Book One of "On War, `War

 

is merely the continuation of Policy by other means.' "(106:87)

 

Additionally, Clausewitz identifies the critical connection

 

between the people, the government, and the army.(106:89)

 

By going back to these basics, Casper Weinberger refocused

 

the United States on the use of military force. By tying these

 

early writings of Clausewitz to our society, Weinberger has

 

given us some excellent guidelines as we view the use of

 

military force as an element of national power.

 

A year after Desert Shield and Desert Storm is still

 

somewhat early to be attempting a critical, unemotional

 

evaluation of what happen. However, the essence of my

 

interest is rooted in an emotional issue, the support our

 

military forces had prior to hostilities and the heroes

 

welcome they received upon returning home. This stark

 

contrast to the welcome home for our troops from Vietnam

 

needs to be a major lesson learned from the Gulf War.

 

I believe military professionals need to be well-versed

 

in the understanding of how military power works as an

 

element of national power. Use of the Weinberger tests not

 

only aids the politicians, it aids the military. Following

 

Weinberger' s speech, much was written about his tests, both

 

pro and con. The Marine Corps Gazette contained an exchange

 

of views between Major John Otis, USMC, and Captain John

 

Byron, USN. In his article, Captain Byron wrote:

 

Military officers should distance themselves from

discussions of the criteria for the use of force,

leaving these debates to the civilian leaders, and

concentrate instead on proficiency and

professionalism as warriors. A more proper stance

for the military is "We are ready now, sir," not

"Let's see if the six tests are met."(17:18)

 

I agree military professionals should not be debating

 

whether we will follow orders if all six tests are not

 

passed. However, the Goldwater-Nichols Reorganization Act

 

of 1986 makes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff the

 

primary adviser to the Secretary of Defense and the

 

President on topics concerning the military. While a key

 

topic is proficiency and readiness, "professionalism"

 

requires the military advisory to be able to ensure the

 

politicians are given accurate portraits of what military

 

force can, and cannot, do. The Weinberger tests help when

 

considering the use of military force.

 

It is my contention the Bush administration met the six

 

tests for the use of military power as outlined by Casper

 

Weinberger. I have come upon no source in which anyone in

 

the Administration has said definitively they applied the

 

tests, yet many of the Administration's actions satisfy the

 

requirements. I realize there were many factors which

 

contributed to the attitude of the United States citizens

 

towards their returning warriors. I am not stating that the

 

use of the Weinberger tests resulted in the overwhelming

 

support of our troops. I do believe the tests help the

 

civilian leaders to focus on a clearer use of military force

 

in achieving national objectives. This focus results in the

 

military being given appropriate objectives. This in turn,

 

allows the public to evaluate the military on its ability to

 

accomplish the assigned mission. This differs from the

 

Vietnam era where I was judged based upon a failure of

 

political, not military, objectives.

 

The Weinberger tests primarily deal with the conditions

 

leading up to the use of military force. As such, I will

 

address the six tests and how I view events which supported

 

them. Without the years of hindsight, and the many

 

historians, political and social science experts to put this

 

in perspective for me, I will examine these events as they

 

were reported in our national media leading up to, and

 

through, the swift conclusion of the ground offensive.

 

TEST ONE

 

First, the United States should not commit forces

to combat overseas unless the particular engagement

or occasion is deemed vital to our national

interest or that of our allies. That emphatically

does not mean that we should declare beforehand, as

we did with Korea in 1950, that a particular area

is outside our strategic perimeter, (108:441)

 

The first test, as it pertains to Southwest Asia, is

 

quite complex. It is complex because there were three

 

different issues concerning what was vital to our national

 

interests. The first scenario was the defense of Kuwait.

 

The second scenario was the defense of Saudi Arabia. The

 

last scenario dealt with removing Saddam Hussein from power

 

in Iraq. Before we examine the three cases, let us first

 

examine the last part of test one, not declaring beforehand

 

our strategic perimeter.

 

Soon after the invasion, people in the United States

 

began asking how Saddam Hussein thought he could get away

 

with "annexing" Kuwait. In Washington, the question was

 

whether someone had made the same mistake with Kuwait that

 

Secretary of State, Acheson, had made with Korea. By the

 

first week in October, Congress was holding hearings into

 

that question and much attention was paid to Ambassador

 

April Glaspie. On July 25 she had met with Saddam Hussein

 

and forwarded President Bush's message that he "personally

 

wants to expand and deepen the relationship with Iraq." She

 

added, "We don't have much to say about Arab-Arab

 

differences, like your border differences with Kuwait. All

 

we hope is that you solve those matters quickly."(77:54)

 

I'm sure this conversation will be analyzed by every author

 

who writes about the Gulf War. Its role as a catalyst

 

appears to be insignificant if one considers the many public

 

statements Saddam made after his invasion of Kuwait. He

 

never mentioned the U.S. as having any influence on his

 

decision to invade Kuwait.

 

Prior to the invasion, the U.S.'s strategic perimeter

 

had obviously included the Gulf Area. Since President

 

Roosevelt, no matter which political party held the

 

Presidency, the Gulf Area was of strategic importance to the

 

U.S. (102:1216) In 1985 Assistant Secretary of Defense,

 

Richard Armittage, highlighted the Gulf Area as not only

 

"vitally important to the U.S., but to the economies of the

 

entire Free world."(2:7) The focus on the Gulf continued

 

into the Bush Administration. General Schwarzkopf,

 

Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command, in a May/June

 

1990 Defense article, cited President Bush's reaffirmed

 

"commitment to protect its (the U.S.'s) vital regional

 

interest throughout Southwest Asia. "(83:27) Given we were

 

concerned with the Gulf Area in general, let us focus

 

specifically on the events leading up to the Iraqi invasion

 

of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and the subsequent issues.

 

We had warning time prior to the invasion of Kuwait.

 

Politically, Saddam had made threats toward his fellow Arab

 

brothers which provided an indication of what was to

 

come. (50:47) Militarily, the logistical preparation had

 

been spotted with a resulting change in the military

 

estimate of what could happen which provided warning

 

time. (77:54) We had warning time, but did not use it. Once

 

the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait began, it was completed so

 

fast, that there was little we could do with conventional

 

forces to stop it. Kuwait was invaded, the question was,

 

what do we do now?

 

During previous situations, the United States had

 

demonstrated that Kuwait could fall within our strategic

 

perimeter. When Kuwaiti tankers were threatened by Iran

 

during the Iran-Iraq war, the U.S. used its military forces

 

to protect the tankers. Secretary of Defense, Weinberger,

 

stated, "...the free movement of important commerce on

 

international waters was vital to our security. "(108:402)

 

Additionally, he stated the U.S. military was not committing

 

forces to combat, although that may happen. The key point

 

here is that the U.S. had not defined Kuwait as our

 

interest, but free movement on international waters. Even

 

though this appeared to set a precedent, we should remember

 

Weinberger had also stated "...judgments about vital

 

interests will sometimes depend on circumstances of the

 

specific case and trends, as well as intrinsic

 

values."(109:7) This left the Bush administration free to

 

define our vital interest during this Persian Gulf Crisis.

 

President Bush's initial responses to the Iraqi invasion

 

were mixed; however, when he started to focus, his focus was

 

on Saudi Arabia. (6:20)

 

While President Bush may have sent mixed signals about

 

the invasion of Kuwait, his response concerning Saudi Arabia

 

was clear. With the Iraqis moving within five miles of the

 

border with Saudi Arabia, President Bush did not rule out a

 

counterstrike and warned Saddam that Saudi Arabia was a

 

"vital interest" of the U.S.(102:1216) Even House Speaker

 

Thomas Foley warned that an attack on Saudi Arabia "would

 

call for direct military response by the United States. "(71:22)

 

With the build-up of Iraqi forces continuing on the Saudi

 

border, combined with the unpredictability of Saddam Hussein,

 

the Saudis asked for and received U.S. forces to assist in Saudi

 

Arabia's defense. Attention now turned to Kuwait.

 

The determination of our vital interest in Kuwait was

 

not in the country itself, but to an ideal. Just as in the

 

Kuwaiti reflagging mission, Kuwait was not the issue, the

 

ideal was. This time the issue was whether one country can

 

overrun and annex another. President Bush warned early that

 

Saddam's aggression would not stand. The U.S. would stand

 

for an ideal, and Kuwait was the place where we would stand.

 

As for the remaining issue of removing Saddam Hussein

 

from power, this objective was widely discussed in the

 

media, but never endorsed by the Administration. It was

 

discussed in mid-August as a potential hidden agenda and

 

editorials continue to this day as to whether the U.S.

 

failed to complete the job by removing Saddam from

 

power. (56:22) President Bush repeatedly stated before and

 

after the war that Saddam's rule in Iraq was an issue for

 

the Iraqi people, not for the U.S. The President determined

 

Saddam' s being in power was not vital to our national

 

interests and Saddam was not a military objective. The

 

President had determined our national interest based upon

 

the situation. The first test was passed.

 

TEST TWO

 

Second, if we decide it is necessary to put combat

troops into a given situation, we should do so

wholeheartedly, and with the clear intention of

winning. If we are unwilling to commit the forces

or resources necessary to achieve our objectives, we

should not commit them at all. Of course if the

particular situation requires only limited force to

win our objectives, then we should not hesitate to

commit forces sided accordingly. When Hitler broke

treaties and remilitarized the Rhineland, small

combat forces then could perhaps have prevented the

holocaust of World War II.(108:441)

 

The President was committed to the mission from the

 

start. By mid-August the Administration's strategy was

 

maturing and President Bush's vow of "This aggression will

 

not stand" was supported not only at home, but throughout

 

the world. While support for the Administration's strategy

 

would fluctuate somewhat throughout operations in the Gulf,

 

the support of the overriding principle to stop naked

 

aggression was always strong. When it appeared force would

 

be needed to accomplish the objectives, the military had the

 

full support of its Commander in Chief to win the war.

 

While the President had other issues at home and abroad

 

that did take his time, his number one topic was the Gulf.

 

He kept the world's attention focused there. There were 30

 

issues of Time magazine between August 2, 1990, when the

 

invasion began, and February 27, 1991, when the President

 

announced we had met our objectives and ordered the

 

suspension of offensive military operations. During that

 

time, 15 cover stories were devoted to the Gulf and all 30

 

issues contained major articles referring to it.

 

We used all elements of national power in dealing with

 

the Persian Gulf Crisis. The focus of diplomatic and

 

political power was at the U.N. Through the U.N.`s embargo,

 

the world's economic power was focused against Iraq. As for

 

military power, the ever-building ability to take military

 

action against Iraq continued.

 

The military situation reached a point where political

 

commitment would be tested early. The test came in two

 

ways. First, the question of casualties was continually

 

asked. The lethality of today's battlefield, combined with

 

what we knew of the Iran-Iraq war, lead to estimates of

 

causalities which are best exemplified by former Chairman of

 

the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William Crowe, "a

 

terrible price."(3:29) Those who tried to estimate the

 

numbers went up as far as hundreds of thousands. Faced

 

with these numbers, the Administration held firm to its

 

commitment.

 

The second test of political commitment was the

 

mobilization of our reserve forces. Because of the way our

 

military is now structured with the Total Force policy, all

 

branches of the military needed their reserve forces. In

 

addition, the Air Force needed the Civil Reserve Air Fleet

 

to accomplish the assigned tasks. The President supported

 

early activation of the reserves and Civil Reserve Air Fleet

 

in August. We were committed.

 

The size of the committed force was based upon the

 

assigned task. Unlike Weinberger's comparison to Hitler's

 

forces at the start of World War II, Saddam's forces were

 

not small to begin with. Saddam had the largest military in

 

Southwest Asia and the fourth largest in the world. When

 

the military objectives were to deter Iraqi aggression and

 

defend Saudi Arabia, our force was structured accordingly.

 

When the President wanted the option to use military power

 

to enforce the U.N. resolutions if the economic embargo

 

failed, we resized our force. The second test was passed.

 

TEST THREE

 

Third, if we do decide to commit forces to combat

overseas, we should have clearly defined political

and military objectives. And we should know

precisely how our forces can accomplish those

clearly defined objectives. And we should have and

send the forces needed to do just that. As

Clausewitz wrote, "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."

War may be different today than in

Clausewitz's time, but the need for well-defined

objectives and a consistent strategy is still

essential. If we determine that a combat mission

has become necessary for our vital national

interests, then we must send forces capable to do

the job--and not assign a combat mission to a force

conf igured for peacekeeping. (108:441)

 

This is by far the easiest of the tests to evaluate.

 

We had clearly defined political and military objectives.

 

The political goals were stated plainly in U.N. resolutions

 

from the start. First, U.N. Security Council Resolution 660

 

stated Iraq was to leave Kuwait.(100:2) Second, U.N.

 

Security Council Resolution 662 demanded the restoration of

 

the legitimate government of Kuwait.(101:1.3) Third, we were

 

committed to the security and stability of the Persian Gulf.

 

And our fourth and final objective, was the continued

 

protection of American citizen abroad. These objectives

 

were made clear during the President's speech to the nation

 

on August 8, 1990.(102:1216)

 

There was a discussion in the national press during

 

mid-November that the President was changing the objectives

 

of the war. (44:30) This did not occur. The U.N.`s

 

objectives had not changed; neither had those of the U.S.

 

readjustment of the elements of national power occurred

 

during that time period. The military had accomplished the

 

first objective it was given: Iraqi aggression had been

 

deterred and we had aided in the defense of Saudi Arabia.

 

When it appeared that the economic and diplomatic elements

 

of power might not work, the Administration wanted the

 

option of using military force, the third element of

 

national power. This gave the military a new objective, to

 

be capable of conducting offensive operations. It was not a

 

change in national objectives, but a change in an element of

 

national power to accomplish the objective,

 

The objective that caused the largest problem was the

 

elusive "security and stability" of the Persian Gulf. Here

 

is an area of the world that has been involved in turmoil

 

since history began. From Biblical accounts, this area

 

appears to be the cradle of civilization. In the Bible, the

 

first family to live in this area had a problem between

 

their two sons, Cain and Abel, and the trouble has not

 

stopped to this day. It is no wonder the Administration had

 

problems in trying to define this objective. Granted, the

 

third objective given by the President caused some concern

 

in being clearly defined. However, overall the primary

 

objectives were clearly defined. The third test was passed.

 

 

 

TEST FOUR

 

Fourth, the relationship between our objectives and

the forces we have committed--their size,

composition and disposition--must be continually

reassessed and adjusted if necessary. Conditions

and objectives invariably change during the course

of a conflict. When they do change, then so must

our combat requirements, We must continuously keep

as a beacon light before us the basic questions:

"Is this conflict in our national interest?" "Does

our national interest require us to fight, to use

force of arms?" If the answers are "yes," then we

must win. If the answers are "no," then we should

not be in combat. (108:442)

 

While the essence of our objectives in the Gulf

 

remained stable, as discussed in test three, there was some

 

"reassessment and adjustment" on the margins of the

 

objectives of our force. Weinberger points out that

 

conditions and objectives change. I believe in this case,

 

as the U.S. and the world became more informed about Saddam

 

Hussein, this knowledge changed the conditions. We replaced

 

the assumptions we had made at the start of the invasion of

 

Kuwait with knowledge about the nature of the Iraqi leader

 

and made adjustments. We can look at this test with broader

 

meaning than just military force. If you take Weinberger's

 

first sentence and take "force" to mean all the elements of

 

national power, you can see we did continually reassess and

 

adjust our forces. As diplomatic and political forces were

 

maneuvered at the U.N. and throughout the world, so too were

 

economic forces. Kuwaiti and Iraqi assets throughout the

 

world were frozen, the oil pipelines out of Iraq were

 

shutdown, and an embargo was enforced. All of these moves

 

were adjustments of force.

 

While these other elements of national power were being

 

employed, the military was also assessing and adjusting.

 

When the presence of our troops, deployed to deter Saddam

 

Hussein, did not accomplish the objective of getting him to

 

withdraw from Kuwait, the U.S. reassessed. By deploying a

 

force large enough to take offensive action, we made the

 

adjustment needed to meet the President's next tasking, the

 

use of military force to meet our national objectives.

 

While the actual combat phase of the operation was

 

relatively short, we constantly reassessed our operations.

 

This is particularly true of the air campaign. We also

 

evaluated ground operations when they started. With modern

 

technology, the President and his warfighting Commander in

 

Chief can be in contact in a moment's notice. This ability

 

to communicate allowed the President to halt the operation

 

at any time he felt our national objectives had been met.

 

He did just that. During President Bushes address to the

 

nation on February 27, 1991 he stated:

 

After consulting with Secretary of Defense

Cheney, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,

General Powell, and our coalition partners, I am

pleased to announce that at midnight tonight,

Eastern Standard Time, exactly 100 hours since

ground operations commenced and six weeks since the

start of Operation Desert Storm, all United States

and coalition forces will suspend offensive combat

operations. ( 103:222)

 

In this case, our objectives remained clear and

 

focused. On an on-going basis, we adjusted our forces to

 

accomplish the objectives assigned to them by the President.

 

Test four was passed.

 

TEST FIVE

 

Fifth, before the U.S. commits combat forces

abroad, there must be some reasonable assurance we

will have the support of the American people and

their elected representatives in Congress. This

support cannot be achieved unless we are candid in

making clear the threats we face; the support

cannot be sustained without continuing and close

consultation. We cannot fight a battle with the

Congress at home while asking our troops to win a

war overseas or, as in the case of Vietnam, in

effect asking our troops not to win, but just to be

there. ( 108:442)

 

This is the test I felt the Bush Administration was not

 

going to pass. It was not the lack of support from the

 

American people which was at risk, it was the support of

 

Congress that could not be assured. The interaction between

 

the Congress and the Administration can be confusing to

 

someone not familiar with our democratic system. The

 

President had the support of the American people, he had

 

rallied world support, and yet, he could not count on the

 

support of Congress. Of all the tests, this is the one

 

which ties the people, the government, and the army together

 

as Clausewitz had discussed. Based upon our history, most

 

wars we were involved in started with support of the people

 

back home. It is after we get involved and see the

 

associated risks and costs that support falters. Perhaps,

 

this is why many politicians were cautious in their support

 

of military action, regardless of what the current public

 

opinion polls were showing.

 

The public opinion poll measures the American pulse on

 

any issue. These polls were conducted continuously by

 

several major news organizations throughout our involvement

 

in the Gulf and were used to evaluate American sentiment.

 

In this respect, we probably could not have had a better

 

enemy than Saddam Hussein. His actions proceeded to build

 

support against him. Detaining foreign nationals,

 

exploiting a child in a media ploy, and threatening the U.S.

 

all worked against him. The reports of the destruction

 

Iraqi troops were inflicting upon Kuwait coupled with the

 

reports of Saddam's use of chemical weapons on his own

 

people at an earlier time, reinforced the belief that this

 

man had to be stopped. The repeated comparisons to Hitler

 

gave people someone to measure Saddam against and the

 

opinion polls showed the public's reaction. A "Time" poll in

 

August 1990 showed 75 percent of those polled supported the

 

commitment of troops to Saudi Arabia. (56:21) At this point

 

many people hoped our mere presence in the Gulf would cause

 

Saddam to back down. That did not happen. By January, the

 

use of military force to free Kuwait was becoming more

 

probable. While the use of military force was rapidly

 

approaching and the loss of life was expected to be high,

 

the polls were reporting Americans were concerned with

 

whether President Bush had done enough before we went to

 

war, not "if" we should go to war. The majority felt

 

President Bush had done enough. (67:36) At different times

 

the opinion poll numbers went up and down; nevertheless, the

 

support of the American people was there.

 

The part of the test I felt was most in danger of not

 

being met was the support of Congress. Just as the military

 

had learned many lessons from Vietnam, so had Congress. In

 

recent years, Congress has been exerting more influence into

 

international affairs. One of the ways it has exerted this

 

role is in the War Powers Act. The legality of the act and

 

its implications are much too complex to address here, but I

 

mention it to reinforce the ongoing struggle within our

 

government for control of the military instrument of

 

national power. The point is, Congress wanted a voice in

 

the use of military force. However, to make the hard choice

 

and commit to the use of force, Congress would then be

 

jointly responsible for the results. By accepting

 

responsibility, it would then make it harder for Congress to

 

blame the Administration later if operations did not go

 

well. While the Constitutional power to declare war was

 

never questioned, who could commit forces to combat was

 

extensively discussed.

 

I believe the Administration was somewhat perplexed

 

with the situation of having the support of the American

 

people and the international community and yet Congress

 

could not be counted on for support. This vulnerability

 

could undermine the support the President had built. The

 

Administration initially avoided the issue of the need for

 

Congressional approval to start operations. (39:33) As, the

 

start of offensive operations approached and with the world

 

community supporting military operations, the Administration

 

sought and received Congressional support. (60:32) Finally,

 

with the support of Congress, and the American people, the

 

fifth test passed.

 

 

 

TEST SIX

 

Finally, the commitment of U.S. forces to combat

should be a last resort.(108:442)

 

While I stated test five was the one test I felt the

 

Bush Administration would fail to meet, this last test is

 

the hardest to say we met. When Saddam stopped offensive

 

action, he put the decision to resume the use of military

 

force on the U.S. We now had to make the decision to begin

 

offensive operations to reclaim Kuwait. Was the use of

 

military force the last resort? While the question leads to

 

great speculation, its answer can never be known.

 

What we do know is tremendous amounts of time and

 

energy were spent looking for a solution other than the use

 

of military force. Economic sanctions had been tried.

 

There were those like Senate majority leader George Mitchell

 

who in mid-January were still arguing against the use of

 

military force and for the continued use of economic

 

sanctions. While the sanctions were having some effect, the

 

effects did not appear to be of such magnitude that they

 

would force Saddam to withdraw from Kuwait. As we waited,

 

the plundering of Kuwait continued. Additionally, the more

 

time we gave the Iraqis, the better their military defenses

 

became. Economic sanctions appeared to have failed. (70: 40)

 

The search for a diplomatic solution continued up

 

until, and through, the start of the U.N. counterattack

 

against Saddam. Many attempts were made to try to provide

 

some movement towards peace. Saddam Hussein was determined

 

not to give up Kuwait. What the world had hoped was

 

rhetoric, Saddam's statement that Kuwait was part of Iraq,

 

was his objective. (49:13) This was unacceptable to the

 

world community as demonstrated in multiple U.N.

 

resolutions. Saddam and the World's views were mutually

 

exclusive. The reluctant reality of the situation was made

 

gainfully clear during the meeting in Geneva between

 

Secretary of State James Baker and Iraqi Foreign Minister

 

Tariq Aziz on January 9, 1991. A flurry of diplomatic

 

activity occurred during the final days before the U.N.

 

deadline of January 15, 1991. Even President Gorbachev

 

tried to intervene one last time, but his warning to Saddam

 

was too late. (27:18) More realistically, the warning would

 

seem to have been unheeded, like all the warnings before it.

 

Diplomacy appeared to have failed.

 

The use of military power in the defense is an easy

 

Decision; in the offense, it is difficult to say all other

 

options have failed and we are at our "last resort." This

 

is the hardest test, for there will always be those who say

 

you can do more before using military force. What we need

 

is something similar to our legal concept of the "reasonable

 

man." Would a reasonable man consider other options

 

exhausted and the only thing left was military force to use

 

a last resort? The deadline for Iraq to leave Kuwait

 

helped to focus the efforts to avoid war. As British

 

Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd stated: "The advantage of

 

having a deadline is that it creates the maximum pressure

 

for a peaceful solution."(58:25) After five and a half

 

months, I believe the reasonable man would conclude we

 

were at the last resort. The last test had been passed.

 

There is not a panacea for the use of military force.

 

Each time a country elects to use it, there are consequences

 

which that country did not plan. It is therefore of the

 

utmost importance that we not make the decision to use

 

military force lightly. Based upon what Casper Weinberger

 

had seen in examining the use of military force, he believed

 

the United States was losing that focus.(108:159) His

 

speech to the National Press Club has set the stage for a

 

critical look before we elected to use the military element

 

of power. The uses of military force in Desert Shield and

 

Desert Storm are being hailed as great successes. By

 

complying with Weinberger's six tests, even if in a defacto

 

state, I believe we set the stage where competent commanders

 

could be successful.

 

While never directly stating it was attempting to

 

follow Weinberger's tests, the Bush administration did pass

 

all six tests. However, there is a risk associated with

 

proclaiming Weinberger's tests as doctrine. The risk is in

 

the failure to pass one of the tests. If the Administration

 

was not assured of Congressional support, would it have used

 

military force? From all of the statements before Congress

 

by key members of the Administration, I believe the answer

 

is yes, the implications of that act would have just added

 

to the War Powers Act controversy. By openly accepting the

 

tests as doctrine, a precedent would have been set which the

 

executive may not want.

 

What we wanted, and received, was a successful

 

operation, both overseas and at home. I believe the

 

teachings of Clausewitz helped to make this happen. The

 

Administration demonstrated the maxim that war is merely the

 

continuation of policy by other means. While understanding

 

the concern for military professionals to avoid becoming

 

involved in politics, they must be involved with policy. To

 

quote Clausewitz one last time:

 

The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching

act of judgment that the statesman and commander

have to make is to establish by that test the kind

of war on which they are embarking; neither

mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into,

something that is alien to its nature. This is the

first of all strategic questions and the most

comprehensive. (106:88)

 

By understanding why, and for what, we are going to war, we

 

can understand war's nature.

 

We understood the nature of the war in the Gulf. We

 

had a President who used military force wisely. We had

 

professional officers who employed the force with expertise.

 

It is for these reasons, my fellow military professionals

 

and I, were judged by the American people to be worthy of

 

their support. The experience of being in uniform in 1991

 

was a dramatic change from 1973. This too, is a vivid

 

memory.

 

Having employed the military well this time does not

 

guarantee we will do as well next time. Of the many things

 

we did correct in the Gulf war, keeping the focus-provided

 

by Weinberger's tests was a keystone. It provided the

 

bridge between our military forces, our government, and our

 

people. It is a link in assuring "no more Vietnams."

 

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