Arthur Herman: Debunking the myths of Desert Storm

Roundup: Talking About History

[Arthur Herman is the author, most recently, of Gandhi and Churchill. His recent articles for COMMENTARY include "The 35-Year War on the CIA" (December 2009) and "The Gitmo Myth and the Torture Canard" (June 2009).]

Twenty years ago today, ground op erations in Operation Desert Storm came to a halt. American arms had won their most dazzling success in two generations, perhaps ever.

After five weeks of round-the-clock air strikes, forces under Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf shattered Saddam Hussein's army, the biggest and most heavily armed in the Middle East, in just five days. The victorious 34-nation coalition lost only 392 killed, 294 of them Americans. Saddam had been driven from Kuwait; his regime teetered on collapse. A bright, new, world order seemed in the offing.

But two decades later we can see how many Americans, including our leaders, drew the wrong lessons from Desert Storm -- creating myths that haunt us to this day...

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