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Happy 20th Anniversary to the "End" of the 1991 Gulf War...the War That Never Actually Ended

Five ugly facts you need to know about a not-so-clean and continuing war.

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According to her written testimony, she had seen "the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns and go into the room where ... babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the babies on the cold floor to die."

During the three months between Nayirah's testimony and the start of the war, the story of babies tossed from their incubators stunned Americans. Bush told the story, and television anchors and talk-show hosts recycled it for days. It was read into the congressional record as fact and discussed at the U.N. General Assembly.

By the time it emerged that Nayirah was a Kuwaiti royal and the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington and that she had never volunteered in any hospital and that the incident and her testimony had been provided by H&K, it was too late. The war had already begun.

Another concoction was top-secret satellite images that the Pentagon claimed to have of 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks on the Kuwait-Saudi border, visible proof that Saddam would be advancing soon on Saudi Arabia. Yet the St. Petersburg Times acquired two commercial Russian satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, that showed no Iraqi troops near the Saudi border, and the scientific experts whom the Times hired could identify nothing but sand at the supposed location of the advancing army.

But the  St. Petersburg Times  story evaporated, and the Pentagon's story stuck. When Bush addressed a joint session of Congress on Sept. 11, 1990, he reported that developments in the Gulf were "as significant as they were tragic": Iraqi troops and tanks had moved to the south "to threaten Saudi Arabia."

Saudi reluctance to host foreign troops and bases that would desecrate their sacred sites, the holiest in all of Islam, gave way in the face of an imminent invasion, and the war had its staging area. American discomfort with a war to defend a country most had never heard of began to transform into dread that the Saudi oil they relied on would be swallowed up by a monster.

Under U.S. pressure, United Nations Security Council adopted unprecedented resolutions allowing nations to use  "all  means necessary" for their enforcement. The U.S. won Security Council votes by forgiving huge loans, recognizing dictatorships diplomatically, agreeing to sell arms, and more.  Boyle identifies specific violations and subversions of the U.N. Charter in these activities, most importantly the mandate to negotiate peaceful resolutions to international disputes. And, according to Boyle, in its decision to go to war and in its conduct of the war itself, the U.S. perpetrated a Nuremberg Crime against Peace.   As James Baker has often admitted,  winning allies for the first Gulf War in 1991 involved "cajoling, extracting, threatening and occasionally buying votes.”  

4. The Gulf War's Stated Goal of Ejecting Iraqi Troops from Kuwait Quickly Revealed Itself to be Destroying Iraq 

The war's stated intention was to remove Iraq's presence from Kuwait. But quickly, that intention changed to destroying Iraq.  The air and missile attack of Iraq continued for 42 days., dropping more bombs in that brief period than bombs in all wars in history combined.  Iraqi aircraft and anti-aircraft or anti-missile ground fire offered no resistance. The aerial and missile bombardment in a matter of hours destroyed most military communications and over the course of the next few weeks attacked Iraqi soldiers who were unable to secure food, water, and equipment due to this breakdown. Some 100,000 Iraqi soldiers died, according to General Schwarzkopf, most of whom were incapable of fighting.

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