Desert Storm after 25 years: Confronting the exposures of modern warfare
By most metrics, the 1991 Gulf War, also known as Operation Desert Storm, was a huge and rapid success for the United States and its allies. The mission of defeating Iraq’s army, which invaded Kuwait the year prior, was done swiftly and decisively. However, the war’s impact on soldiers who fought in it was lasting. Over 650,000 American men and women served in the conflict, and many came home with symptoms including insomnia, respiratory disorders, memory issues and others attributed to a variety of exposures – “Gulf War Illness.”
On June 16, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings and Georgetown University Medical Center co-hosted a discussion on Desert Storm, its veterans, and how they are faring today. Representative Mike Coffman (R-Col.), the only member of Congress to serve in both Gulf wars, delivered an opening address before joining Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at Brookings, for a moderated discussion. Joel Kupersmith, former head of the Office of Research and Development of the Department of Veterans Affairs, convened a follow-on panel with Carolyn Clancy, deputy under secretary for health for organizational excellence at the Department of Veterans Affairs; Adrian Atizado, deputy national legislative director at Disabled American Veterans; and James Baraniuk, professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.
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I think probably that the lesson that [Kim Jong Un is] learning is that he doesn’t have to give up anything and yet people will be scrambling for summits with him. ... The longer we have these drawn-out talks, these summits, bilaterals, trilaterals, quadrilaterals, the more it buys time for them to reinforce their claimed status [as a nuclear power] but also to continue with their R&D. But I do think that there is an element of trying to mitigate the sanctions, and also Kim took all those discussions about military strikes seriously enough to try and take the wind out of the sails. ... I find it difficult to envision how or why he would give up his nuclear weapons, which have pretty much given him what he’s wanted: which is the strategic relevance, the international prestige, and deterrence.
[Regarding President Trump's shift from enthusiasm to uncertainty over the U.S.-North Korea summit] In effect, President Trump is getting a mini-lesson in talking to the North Koreans even before he talks to the North Koreans.