Saturday | September 21, 2002
The true cost of Gulf War I
Alert reader KS pointed me to this sobering piece about veterans of the first Gulf War.
To wit, the first Gulf War was a cakewalk, right? The cost to coalition forces was the following:
[11 years after the Gulf War,] the human toll has soared. More than 159,000 American Gulf War veterans are receiving disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Thousands suffer from memory loss, dizziness, blurred vision, speech difficulties, nerve disorders, muscle weakness. Many have chronic skin disorders, including rashes. They have reported incidences of cancers in themselves and birth defects in their children, though U.S. government studies deny they are related to the war.So, the "easy" victory in the Gulf War "only" cost us 300 Americans dead. That was so lucky!
Except to the 300 who died and their families, or to the 159,000 who continue to suffer from Gulf War Syndrome...
And don't think Gulf War II will be easier -- everything points to a much tougher, much more costly campaign. You'll have troops fighting invaders in their own country, not Kuwait, while using tactics that give them better survival chances against American forces. You'll have a Somalia scenario, with Iraqi soldiers and irregulars holed up in urban centers, forcing US troops to engage in hand-to-hand combat, negating American technological advantages. You'll have a desperate Hussein, knowing his game is up, willing to use his arsenal of WMD, both against Israel and against invading US forces.
And we'll have a new generation of shattered families -- casualties will be much higher, as will the long-term effects on soldiers and their families.
Setting aside the war's cost to treasure, are we truly prepared to pay this human cost?Posted September 21, 2002 09:45 AM | Comments (3)