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A Justifiable if not Just War The American Persian Gulf War The American-led war against Iraq in the Persian Gulf in 1991 was one of the defining moments of the post-Cold War era Although its six-week duration was relatively short when compared with conflicts such as the Vietnam Afghan or Korean Wars the scale of the war and the magnitude of the destruction involved were nonetheless significant A question that was and has been much debated is whether the US Administration under President George Bush was justified in going to war against Iraq which was and remains under the regime of Saddam Hussein This essay will argue that in terms of a just war the American involvement in the region was morally ambiguous and probably unjustifiable However in terms of American interests - and indeed in terms of the economic and political interests of many other parties in the conflict - the American-led war with Iraq was justifiable This distinction as will be seen is important considering the complex network of interests and interested parties that focused on the Persian Gulf in 1990-91 In military terms the Persian Gulf War represented the culmination of modern military technology and tactics In the first two weeks of the air campaign against Iraq the Allied air forces dropped more conventional explosives on Iraq and Kuwait than had been dropped in World War Two which had lasted 310 weeks To maintain its 430000 troops in the war the United States military had to move some 6 million pounds of supplies a day Hiro 4 It was a war that was to end in an overwhelming victory for the American-led coalition During the six-week campaign Iraq suffered approximately 82000 casualties - a number arrived at through a critical analysis of the inflated figures provided to the media by both sides with over three-quarters being military personnel In comparison the allied coalition lost in the entire seven-month period
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