Home Blog 1991 Gulf War – Excerpts from my diary

1991 Gulf War – Excerpts from my diary

The Gulf War in 1991 really freaked me out. I guess it would be a huge understatement to say it freaked a lot of people out (especially the folks who served over there).

I was living in Sydney (Australia) at the time and spent most of my time glued to the TV watching the live CNN coverage. I was terrified to be away from a radio when I was at work because I really did believe for a while that this could have been the end for all of us.

Thankfully not, although a lot of good people did not come back from the Gulf, and of those who did, many will never be the same again.

Thursday 17th January
It has finally happened! America began attacking Iraq this afternoon (Australian time). Huge air strikes involving hundreds of American and British aircraft. Reports so far have been somewhat contradictory but it seems all is going according to plan for the United Nations allies.

Sat and watched George Bush make his speech live from Washington. There is so much rhetoric and hypothesis on the TV . . . hard to know exactly what is going on. It’s exciting and very frightening that this is occurring in my lifetime and to think only a year ago I felt nothing of note would happen in my lifetime – In 12 months the Soviet Union changed beyond belief, the Berlin Wall came down, the face of Eastern Europe changed politically and just when it seemed the western world would unite in peace, the world is plunged into war at the hands of a lunatic called Saddam Hussein.

I’ve just realised that some of the boys I went to school with could easily be currently serving in the Persian Gulf . . . Sobering!! The first report of a US F/A-18 lost with the pilot dead. It’s not going to be all beer & skittles . . .

Friday 18th January
Well, on the Gulf War front, the disinformation, propaganda and conflicting reports have begun.

I must admit that when I saw the footage of the initial air strike against Baghdad I felt a flush of elation (since it seemed so letter-perfect) but I have just been hit by the realisation that American and especially British troops are in danger of being killed.

I feel that Iraq has over-estimated their capability: They seem to lack any real technology while a lot of the Americans forces involved are the ones who were in Central Europe, trained and expecting to fight the Soviets one day. I don’t believe the Iraqis have ever seen technology like the US has.

I am concerned about Jordan – they have expressed sadness that “brother Iraq” has been attacked by the US, on top of which, in Amman, all American news teams have been confined to their hotels. . . and haven’t Israel been quiet so far?!

It seems ‘Operation Desert Storm’ has been extremely successful – Amazing that the Iraqi response was so minimal – I think despite their war with Iran, Iraq is not battle-ready for such a technologically advanced enemy. Reports from inside Baghdad indicate that the Iraqis had no idea where the planes were or where they came from.

I can’t believe Iraq has launched a missile attack against Israel – they have shelled Tel Aviv and Haifa!!

Saturday 19th January
It still hasn’t really registered that the world is at war. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would witness anything like this in my lifetime. I feel slightly vulnerable (and I’m always concerned about potential nuclear activity!)

Wednesday 23rd January
Iraq has attacked Israel again and this time the attack was terrible! The casualties are unbelievable. Saddam Hussein is a f*****g murderous bastard.

Another alarming thing is that several Arab countries have been demonstrating in the streets in support of Saddam Hussein and Iraq! If Syria and Jordan give their support to Iraq we could be in for it!

Several allied pilots have been captured, beaten and paraded on Iraq Television – Several British Tornadoes have been destroyed and the winter rains have turned the desert into a mud bath so the armoured divisions north of Saudi Arabia are finding it very hard going indeed. It’s hard to comprehend that English troops are in the Gulf fighting the Iraqis – it really brought it home to me tonight when I saw some squaddies interviewed on CNN

Thursday 31st January
News on TV today that the first allied ground troops saw action today – Iraqi ground troops moved into Saudi Arabia and the Americans went into the area to force them out. 12 US Marines are confirmed dead and there are reports that hundreds of Iraqi soldiers were killed.

Wednesday 20th February
Much speculation tonight as to how Saddam Hussein will react to the Soviet peace offer. George Bush has already given it a big thumbs down and even as I write (midnight EST) coalition troops are poised to move into Kuwait/Iraq with a ground offensive.

Tuesday 26th February
Earlier today an Iraqi Scud missile hit an American barracks in Saudi Arabia (Dhahran) killing 27 US soldiers and injuring nearly 100.

Wednesday 27th February
Incredible news – the coalition forces have re-taken Kuwait City and the Iraqis are surrendering in droves – they are hungry, thirsty and tired of the allied bombings. With thousands of Iraqi regular troops surrendering, the US Army divisions are going after the Imperial Guard near the Euphrates. The Republican Guard are on the run. Some amazing footage on the news today of Marines and US Airborne divisions moving up into Iraq to encircle the Republican Guard.

Saturday 2nd March
The Gulf War is ostensibly over – everything finished very rapidly. I think the Americans and the allies had a much better attack plan and strategy than they let the media know about. I also think everyone over-estimated Saddam Hussein because of his war-mongering posturing and rhetoric. The Iraqi armed forces never really seemed to get it together.

I think the war in the Gulf has gone a long way to proving there will never be another true “World War” (like WWI and WWII). I also feel now that all-out nuclear war is not very likely either as everyone feared during the 70’s and 80’s (myself very much included). Boy, the world sure is changing . . .

Obviously, my recollections of the Gulf War were heavily influenced by the TV coverage (primarily CNN). It is important to be objective and open-minded and understand that the events above may not have been 100% accurate – After all, propaganda is a very important tool during time of war. 

I am sure there are recollections on the Internet from folks who were actually there, and no doubt their recollections will differ greatly from mine.