By Ray Starmann
The US military that won Desert Storm or Gulf War I in 1991 was a spectacular military, a gargantuan industrial age military with high tech weaponry and well trained personnel, that when called upon, achieved victory with the speed of Patton and the elan of Teddy Roosevelt.
Overlooking the vast eight mile carnage on the Highway of Death in Kuwait, destruction that was caused by a US Air Force and Navy that bore almost no resemblance to the two services now, a sergeant in the 7th US Cavalry remarked, “America sure got its money’s worth from those Joes.”
In 44 days, the largest military force assembled by the US and its allies since Normandy destroyed the world’s fourth largest army in a brilliantly led, fabulously executed air and ground war in the sands of the Middle East.
The ghosts of Vietnam were vanquished by men who had experienced the horrors and strategic errors of that war and who inculcated those lessons to the personnel they led.
Both General Colin Powell and the late General Norman Schwarzkopf had both served multiple tours in Vietnam and their experiences there made them highly skeptical of the press and its intentions.
Therefore, no reporters were embedded with combat units during the war.
The world was given a Nintendo video game, sanitized version of a war; while albeit short, had many elements of the nastiness of wars past, but appeared to be nothing more than a high tech cake walk.
Because there were no journalists in the field, the world never saw H.R McMaster, the President’s National Security Adviser, who was then a captain in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, fighting the Tawakalna Division of the Republican Guard at a now famous grid line dubbed the 73 Easting.
On McMaster’s left flank, the scouts from the 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry were also battling the Tawakalna and the ghosts of the Little Big Horn, at a nameless speck of desert landscape known as Phase Line Bullet.
Later that night, grunts and tankers from the 1st Infantry Division, the Big Red One, hit the Guard at Objective Norfolk and before the night was over, found themselves engaged in close quarters fighting with fanatical Guardsmen in a place most of them want to forget, but can’t. Two days before, the Big Red One had spent the opening hours of the war burying Iraqis in the trenches alive with bulldozers.
On G Day +3, the US 1st Armored Division hammered the Iraqi Al-Medina Division of the Republican Guard at a place now known as Medina Ridge. The Battle of Medina Ridge was to date the largest tank battle since Kursk in 1943.
On the left flank of Lieutenant General Fred Franks’ VII Corps was the XVIIIth Airborne Corps, which included the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division. The 24th Mech was led by the extremely aggressive, highly competent and definitely non-PC, Major General Barry McCaffrey.
The first two days of the ground war, the 24th Mech raced across the Iraqi desert, heading towards its objectives in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.
On February 26, 1991, the 24th Mech advanced through the valley and captured Iraqi airfields at Jabbah and Tallil. At the airfields, it encountered entrenched resistance from the Iraqi 37th and 49th Infantry Divisions, as well as the 6th Nebuchadnezzar Mechanized Division of the Iraqi Republican Guard. The 24th;s Task Force Tusker attacked entrenched Iraqi forces on February 26th to seize battle position 143, effectively severing the Iraqi Euphrates River Valley line of communication to the Kuwait Theater of operation and destroying the major combat elements of the Iraqi Republican Guard Forces Command’s elite 26th Commando Brigade.[Despite some of the most fierce resistance of the war, the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division destroyed the Iraqi formations and captured the two airfields the next day. The 24th then moved east with VII Corps and engaged several Iraqi Republican Guard divisions on the last day of the conflict.
Two days after the Gulf War ended, on March 2, 1991, elements of the 24th Mech were fired on by the Iraqi Hammurabi Division of the Republican Guard, which was retreating north in a five mile long convoy. McCaffrey ordered his division to destroy the Hammurabi and by the end of the day, the 24th Mech had annihilated the division, destroying 187 armored vehicles, 43 artillery pieces, and over 400 trucks. The Battle of Rumaila Oilfield was a classic showcase of the kind of warrior aggression the US military’s senior leaders used to display, but which, in the era of the perfumed prince with stars has all but disappeared. Barry McCaffrey would last about five minutes on active duty today, as would Norman Schwarzkopf.
McCaffrey and Schwarzkopf are the type of generals who win wars. What do the the generals do now?
Yet, the world saw none of those battles being fought as they saw no Marines storming through Kuwait. There were no journalists; hence no video, no film, no photos; nothing to show the world except a few shots of B Roll of the Iraqi Army surrendering to Marines on the border. To the American public, the Iraqis were surrendering en masse, when in actuality the Republican Guard was going down with the ship. For example, the 10,000 man Tawakalna Division was virtually annihilated, including the division commander who died in an artillery barrage on the night of February 26, 1991.
While General Schwarkopf’s power point presentations enlightened the world, the soldiers and Marines found themselves in a Dante’s Inferno, with smoldering vehicles, dead Iraqi soldiers strewn over tank turrets in a man-made darkness of oil fires that smothered any sunlight and the vast remnants of an army, which littered the battlefield: rifles, helmets, sundry equipment and arms and legs that were picked at by packs of roving wild dogs.
War is hell…but the American public never knew.
The day Desert Storm ended, the death of the US military commenced.
The Pentagon, basking in glory and bowing to pressure from the public and crackpot feminists like Patricia Schroeder, started drinking the Kool Aid and they’ve never stopped. The war was a video game, a clean, quick rout. Modern war was now sanitized, where the bad guys would die at stand-off ranges of a mile or two and explode in little black and white pixels on Pentagon TV screens. In fact, war was now so quick and so easy that women should be allowed to serve in the combat arms and Special Forces.
Our victory in Desert Storm became the catalyst for every left wing wacko to hack at the military with a meat cleaver.
Since, 1991, the US military has been slowly coming apart at the seams. Stress cards, open homosexuality, transgenders on active duty, sensitivity training, pregnancy simulators for male troopers, lactation stations in the field, babies born on US ships of war, female graduates of Ranger School, including a 37 year old mother (it’s funny how the women looked so well fed), women in the SEALs, women in Marine infantry units and females in the field artillery (even though most cannot carry a 155mm round) are just some of the insanity that has taken place in the last 26 years, but which snowballed into hell under the Obama administration.
A social revolution engulfed the military, starting with Tailhook and continuing to this day. Warriors were forced out and feather merchants and PC flag bearers were promoted. Girl power was in and masculinity was out. The warrior culture was buried and a new culture was reborn that resembles corporate America, not the US military of yesteryear.
No, General Kennedy, it’s not your father’s army and that’s a problem, a big, festering problem.
And, now, with the world in flames, with ISIS blowing up Europe, with Putin pumping weights in the Artic while he watches his BMP’s on skis roll by, with Kim Jong-Loon on the loose with a toy chest of nukes and missiles and with Iran figuring out that Trump ain’t Barney Fife, the US military needs to be rougher and tougher and more ready for a fight than ever.
And, we ain’t. And, that’s the fact, Jack.
Many are waiting for Mad Dog Mattis to stick a pike in the heart of the military’s social engineering forever.
We are still waiting…
Perhaps, Secretary Mattis is so busy dealing with the thugs on the planet, that he has forgotten that the armed forces that will be engaging the thugs is still in trouble.
Secretary Mattis must once and for all shut down the feminist fantasy of women in the combat arms. There are thousands of jobs for women in the military where they can serve honorably and be promoted, without, in Mattis’ own words, ‘setting themselves up for failure in combat.’
Mattis also needs to get rid of the perfumed princes, and the feckless duds who have infested the senior ranks of the armed forces. I would rather have a sergeant with guts running a division than a two star coward who is more worried about his pension and future job on cable news than the mission and the troops.
The US military is still being led by people who believe that the military is nothing different than working for Google, except that the military has uniforms and weapons. When you eschew the glorious traditions of the military and combine that with ludicrous social engineering, you are setting yourself up for massive failure.
While the US military interpreted the results of Desert Storm incorrectly, the real lessons from that conflict are crystal clear. The US military functioned well in an environment that focused on the mission, not on political correctness, LGBT rights, day care centers on submarines and breastfeeding Rangers.
With our enemies stacking up against us, time is running out to fix the problems which were initially caused by a victory 26 years ago, in a war that has largely been forgotten.