Fatal debilitation through flawed crisis management: UNSCOM : 1997-1998
Moulton, John B.
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Junior officers in the U.S. military have a certain fascination with CNN. Once news of a U.S. military action breaks, these officers typically gather around television sets in their wardrooms, interested in seeing the results of their, or their fellow service members, handiwork, and, once the dust has settled, how it is perceived around the world. On January 16, 1991, and December 16, 1998, they were impressed with the accuracy and lethality of precision guided munitions. On both times, those members of the armed forces called to action by their Commander in Chief had skillfully executed their assigned missions. At the beginning of the decade, the world had embraced them as United Nations sanctioned heroes for their role in liberating Kuwait from an aggressive neighbor; in the latter attack, they received strong support from their countrymen and British allies, but were largely questioned or condemned by world opinion. Rather than seeing their actions culminate in a victory parade in Washington, D.C., they watched a leader flagrantly defy the UN and claim victory. Now they wonder the status of his chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programs after years of deceit and over two years without any monitoring. How could such a fate befall those who compose the military might behind the world's only superpower? The answer lies in the gulf between U.S. strategic objectives and the application of the means chosen to pursue them.