Gulf War/talk

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Does anyone remember why the embargo was stared or even when? -rmhermen

Second Gulf War?

This should be the Second Gulf War. --Yooden

we can only report the meaning of terms, not redefine them. But what do you propose the first Gulf war was? Was their another war called the gulf war - we can certainly have parallel entries. -rmhermen

The First Gulf War was between Iraq and Iran, 1980 - 1988. At the time, everybody called it Gulf War. --Yooden

I guess the problem is the USA didn't fight in the Iran--Iraq conflict so noone talks about it much now. The FAS, call the two wars: Iran-Iraq Conflict, Gulf War. And this seems to reflect current usage. Still, I think you're right, we did all call the Iran-Iraq Conflict the Gulf War at the time. Got any hard references? Newspaper clippings for example? --drj

No reference material.

The two names you give are quite telling; the First Gulf War was far longer, far more people died and it was probably far more cruel (Iraq used poison gas). Only the fact that no Merkin life was in danger and CNN was more present could result in calling this 'conflict', the Second Gulf War 'war'.

Wikipedia shouldn't reflect 'current usage', it should reflect facts. --Yooden

I have found at least one newspaper that contemporaniously (sp?) called the Iran-Iraq war the Gulf war - The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. It is online at and uses both names in one article. So we should at least mention it in the Gulf War article. -rmhermen

There should be three pages, Gulf War pointing to both First Gulf War and Second Gulf War.

Yes, if you talk about the 'Gulf War', most people will think of the Second, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the First Gulf War should be dissed. Just look at the akas: 'War in the Gulf' is the CNN headline, nothing more.

Fact is, there have been two wars in the Gulf. They should be named accordingly. --Yooden

The first Gulf War should be treated under the Iran-Iraq War, which is the name it is known by, not by a name, the first gulf war, that we have invented ourselves. But if other historians or politicians are using that terminology, we could, too. --rmhermen

I didn't invent it (ask Google), but on the whole you're right. --Yooden

Like this? --Yooden

I do see that others are using First and Second Gulf War on the web. I have never encountered it before. I think that the way you have it linked represents the most common current usage while still acknowledging the variants. History will eventually decide on names - we don't call the American Civil War, the War of Southern Secession or the War of the Rebellion any longer (although we have to remember those names to find all the historically published material.) --rmhermen

if you talk about the 'Gulf War', most people will think of the Second

For some definition of most people, one that excludes the people actually *living* in the region described, a definition that includes most people ignorant of the first Gulf War. But, ignorance shouldn't be any kind of a guide in developing an encyclopedia.

As an aside, the US *did* have a role in the first Gulf War--Kuwait reflagged its oil tankers steaming in the Gulf under the US flag, and the US Navy then gave escort protection to those tankers, mostly as a defense against Iran. The downing of civilian Iranian airliner, with the loss of the hundreds of people aboard, by a missle launced from the USS Vincennes was a part of this action.

Kuwait was, in that war, an ally of Iraq, to defend against the revolutionary nature of Iran's government. How to weigh Iraq's war debts from the first Gulf War were an issue leading to the second Gulf War--Iraq may have seen itself as having done the rest of the Arab world's dirty work in fighting the first war.

Nomenclature is even a problem when referring to the body of water: It is simply called "the Gulf" in these contexts, with the modifier being understood by "most" people (ie, Americans, which as we know, aren't really most people) as the Persian Gulf. This refers to Iran's more ancient name, Persia, and is a slight to the other, non-Persian people who occupy the other lands abuttin the Gulf: to them, it is the Arabian Gulf.

At this point, if I knew more off the top of my head, I'd wander off onto points about the British colonial roots and the current legitimacy of the al-Sabah Kuwaiti government . . .

Civilian Casualties

The air operation was extensive and comprehensive, but the USA was mindful of its cultural and moral duties: allegedly targets were selected and prioritised so as to minimise civilian ("collateral") casualties

I don't believe this is accurate. See "Allies Deliberately Poisoned Iraq Public Water Supply In Gulf War" [1]. Some good links to official Pentagon documents. --DanKeshet

Certainly civilian casualties were minimized. One only need look at a previous war like Vietnam or better WWII to see what total war is like. A few thousand casualties in this manner if true are certainly disturbing and worthy of full investigation and perhaps prosecution but are still minor numbers in a large scale war. It would be worthy of inclusion in the article though - if it bears up. Also someone should mention Gulf War illness in the article. -rmhermen

Hmmm... I don't know about Certainly. From the document I linked to and the way the US denied aid to the Kurds before and after the war, it seems to me civilian casualties were immmaterial, or possibly even a goal of, the military strategy. But what bothers me is the way it's phrased: the USA was mindful. I don't think we should discuss the morality of the war or the US state-of-mind during it or else we'll get caught up in discussions like this. How about, "During the campaign, there were X Iraqi casualties, including Y civilians."? Good job with the references to the Security Council resolutions, btw.


Military strategy includes target lists and changes from war to war - so it should be mentioned how it was handled in this war. Perhaps the phrase itself should be changed. --rmhermen (what are you talking about? drj)

"the USA was mindful of its cultural and moral duties" blah blah. Those are my weasel words and they need heavily editing. I'm not particularly proud of them or the stance that they take, I was in a hurry to write something. The facts seem to be: The US military claim that they minimised civilian casualties; they may not actually have minimised casualties. It certainly needs expanding.

Morality and the state of a nation's mind is an appropriate thing to discuss in essays on wars. Probably not in the unjustified tone that I have used however. It needs more backing up than it currently has. I'm sure we can find a presidential speech that goes on about how great it is that the PGMs can take out a troop barracks without destroying the school next door.

rmhermen, what phrase are you talking about when you say "perhaps the phrase itself should be changed"?

Humanitarian atrocities need discussing too. And a linking to a history of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Persian Gulf, etc. Not than many of those exist.

Yooden, thanks for adding nations of the coalition. Oh no, that was rmhermen; thanks.


Don't blame me. --Yooden (sorry misattributed; using the oyher revisions page is really hard--drj).


I was in the point formation for 6th Marines through the minefield, all the way up to Kuwait City. Our rules of engagement were pretty clear: don't shoot at civilians was high on the list. So we didn't. But wtf do I know.