Wednesday, March 16, 2005

US Miltary Power

This post was initially going to be about Colin Powell and a lot is it still is. When looking for suitable reference material I found some other information which I shall also include.

At the time of the first Gulf War, Colin Powell was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President Bush Senior. His approach was based on the idea that overwhelming military force was needed for US military actions in order to ensure victory and to limit casualties to US military personel. This became known as the "Powell Doctrine". From the point of view of the US administration the doctrine seems reasonable and might be said to have been successful in GW1.

The consequences of the application of overwhelming US military force on the Iraqi army was devastating. The "turkey shoot" of the retreating Iraqi army on the Jahra highway illustrates this in horrific detail. "The Unseen Gulf War" series of pictures by Peter Turnley on shows this in all it's gruesome detail. Links to some of the pictures, which show graphic details of the results of US military action, can be found below.
The "mile of death"
Carbonised bodies of Iraqi soldiers

Like most people in western countries, I normally see only the sanitized reports of war in the mainstream media. These pictures are very difficult to view and in some ways I would prefer that I hadn't seen them. Many of them show the aftermath of the US bombing of retreating Iraqi conscript soldiers, soldiers who would have been tortured or killed if they had refused to follow the orders of Saddam Hussein.

I am often angered when the US military speak of their actions in the manner of a high tech computer game. To some extent this can be explained by the new military technologies which make killing at a distance easy and detatched. More recently another explanation must be added for this behaviour. The Official U.S. Army Game, America's Army, which is used to recruit young Americans into the military, has it's own website at
I have been known to play violent computer games but this blurring of the distinction between fact and reality is, well I can't put it in words. Look up the website and draw your own conclusions.

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