Why Recent History Proves a War Against North Korea Would Be a Nightmare

Sebastien Roblin

Key point: Before you destroy all of an enemy's missiles, first you have to find them.

While assembling the coalition that would eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait in 1990–1991, one thing American military planners weren’t worried about was Iraq’s Scud-B tactical ballistic missiles. True, Iraq had flung hundreds of the Soviet-designed missiles at Iranian cities during the Iran-Iraq war. But the weapons were derived from Nazi V-2 rockets dating back to World War II, and had difficulty hitting any target smaller than a city. The home-built Al-Hussein Scuds developed by Iraqi engineers cut down the size of the warhead and increased the fuel to afford them greater range, at the expense of killing power and accuracy. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of the coalition, thought of them as little more than a terror weapon that would inflict negligible military damage.

Nonetheless, when the coalition began its devastating air campaign over Iraq on January 17, 1991, it threw everything from B-52s to F-117 stealth fighters and Tomahawk cruise missiles to blast twenty-eight fixed Scud sites as well as storage areas and factories.

It became clear the following night, however, that the raids had not silenced the ballistic missiles. The Iraqi military also had a fleet of transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) trucks dispersed throughout western and southern Iraq. Dictator Saddam Hussein settled on a strategy designed to undermine the alliance’s political underpinnings. Starting on January 18, Scud missiles began to rain down cities in Saudi Arabia—and Israeli cities, injuring dozens.

Read the original article.