By Tuffy Fields I can’t believe it’s been thirty-four years. Occasionally events happen in our lives that are so indelible in one’s mind that the event remains crystal clear over the years. So vivid are these memories that they feel as if they happened only yesterday. For me one of these occasions was the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq; an event that eventually changed the face of the Middle East and ultimately revamped the politics of the world. I can’t believe it has been thirty years.
In the summer of 1989 I was returning to my job with Aramco in Saudi Arabia. My family was driving me to Shreveport to capture my flight. As we drove past the race track the news on the radio talked of negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait being hosted by Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. Iraq wanted reimbursement for oil It claimed Kuwait had taken from an oil field that straddled the Iraqi/Kuwaiti border plus it wanted more of the physical oil field. I was surprised as Kuwait had just bankrolled Iraq in its’ disastrous war with Iran plus provided a forward observation base on its’ island of Falaka.
Five days later and I would be eating dinner at the company’s restaurant in Abqaiq with three British friends. It was a Wednesday and the work week was over. Wednesday in the Muslim world is the same as Friday in the Western world. In the evening the temperature dropped with the sun and it was a pleasant upper 80s. I returned to my small apartment to settle into a cool evening and escape the incessant 110+ degree heat of the day. Normally I would not watch the Saudi Arab news but for some reason I thought I would turn it on this night. The talks between Iraq and Kuwait that were hosted by Saudi Arabia had ended. The news cast said that there was no negotiated settlement; however, both countries had agreed to meet at a future time. About an hour later I went upstairs and laid down on the cool bed and thought of home.
I tuned on the British Broadcasting Company, BBC, radio station to catch the news. American Armed Forces radio was not available and the Voice of America was very difficult to find so the BBC provided the best nonbiased news in the region. It was that broadcast that announced that the talks between Iraq and Iran had collapsed, both delegations had left Jeddah and there were no plans scheduled for future talks. I thought how apropos this was. Saudi Arabia had originally glossed over the real issue. Then the announcement came that troops were moving toward the Kuwaiti border. “Saber rattling”, I thought. After all Kuwait had done so much for Iraq. I drifted off to sleep and the BBC went off the air at mid-night.
At six in the morning of August 2nd, BBC came on the air with its’ traditional trumpet blowing followed by “this is London”. That was followed with the announcement that all news programming was cancelled to cover the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. We were at war.
This was one of America’s finest hours as the United States led a coalition that ultimately removed Iraq from Kuwait. I can’t believe it’s’ been thirty-four years. If this happens again the young men and women that make up the fighting force of the United States are ready, willing and able to confront an immoral enemy. This real question is if the senior command able to lead this fine group of volunteers. Do we have a Colin Powel, a Norman Schwarzkopf, a Chuck Horner, a Walter Boomer and a Ray Smith. These men were the true leaders of Desert Storm and each one was mission focused. They insured their men and women were ready for war and it was proven six months after they landed in Saudi. Today many of the leaders seem to be more focused to deliver a politically correct military than one that is ready for war.
Let us hope that the military we had in the past will be the inspiration for the military of the future.
God Bless America and Pray for the Ukraine.