Monday, March 31, 2003

Is Gulf II really proceeding all that differently than Gulf I?

In Gulf I, there was an extensive period of building forces, in Saudi Arabia, prior to attacking Iraqi positions. In Gulf II, the same build up is taking place, this time right outside the Baghdad city limits.

In Gulf I, there was fear that US troop positions in Saudi Arabia were exposed to pre-emptive Iraqi attack. In Gulf II, the same fears for our troops massing in Kuwait. In neither case did those attacks materialize.

In Gulf I, there was extensive bombing of Baghdad and Iraqi Army positions prior to the land attack - 42 days of it, if my memory is correct. In Gulf II, more of the same, 13-14 days and counting.

In Gulf I, there were pessimistic predictions about the number of casualties the Coalition forces would suffer. Same with Gulf II (I hope the pessimism turns out to be as inaccurate now as it was then).

In Gulf I, the Democrats were solidly against military action, partly because of their anti-war tendencies and partly because they would not support anything pushed by President Bush. In Gulf II, the Democrats run true to form.

In Gulf I, there was debate and much handwringing about the military strategy and the size of the forces committed to the attack. Same as with Gulf II.

In Gulf I, there was much concern about when the land attack (on Kuwait) would take place. Same now in Gulf II.

In Gulf I, we heard much about the strength of the Iraqi Army and the Republican Guard and how we were heading towards another Vietnam. In Gulf II, we hear more of the same - sometimes, it seems, from the same people who were so wrong the first time.

In Gulf I, we had Peter Arnett doing his best to prop up the Iraqi morale. In Gulf II, the same.

During Gulf I, during the air attacks that preceded the land attack, much was made of the fact that the Iraqi troops had not panicked and fled, that they were proving tougher than had been expected. Again, the same as now.

In Gulf I, we heard how the Arab street would rise up in anger against US military action. In Gulf II, we're still hearing that.

In Gulf I, we heard that the real problem in the Middle East was Israel. In Gulf II, Israel is still viewed as the problem with everything.

In Gulf I, Hussein refused Bush's demands that he retreat from Kuwait, later cutting a deal that left him alive and in power. In Gulf II, Hussein refused Bush's demands that he give up his WMDs and leave the country, later cutting a deal that left him........???

After Gulf I, the US acted as if it were the country that should be thankful for Arab support during the conflict, rather than the other way around. After Gulf II, the US acted as if it were.....???

After Gulf I, President Bush squandered his approval ratings and lost to Bill Clinton. After Gulf II, President Bush.....???