Why It’s Wrong To Build A War Memorial For Operation Desert Storm

The Long March
U.S. soldiers take oath to the U.S. Army on an Iraqi destroyed tank in Iraq on February 27th, 1991.
Getty Images/Eric Bouvet/Gamma-Rapho

I didn’t realize there was a movement afoot to build a monument specifically to Operation Desert Storm, the 1991 100-hour offensive. But I just saw this article, and my initial reaction is that I viscerally dislike this idea. I have two thoughts about why:

This thing lasted a mere 100 hours. Do you want to put that alongside the World War II monument, the Vietnam Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial? Really?

It wasn’t really a war. It was an initial operation in a war that continues to this day. After ground operations ended, air operations began, as well as ground ops in the north, in “Operation Provide Comfort.” Then came more intense air ops, a couple of times, most notably in the “Desert Fox” airstrikes of 1998, in which, as I recall, more cruise missiles were fired than in “Desert Storm.” (So do we need a “Desert Fox” memorial too? Then we invaded in 2003, and we still have people there, some 15 years later.

Yes, there were casualties in “Desert Storm,” but they were a fraction of those suffered in minor Civil War actions such as, for one example, the Battle of Ezra Church. So it just seems to me disproportionate to give this op a separate monument. It also seems premature to erect a monument to a war that has not ended, and whose outcome we do not yet know.

If you insist on a memorial, maybe it should just be really small, perhaps the size of a desk. I also like @JasonKirell  ‘s suggestion that we start building a monument but never finish it.

Or maybe we could build it as a maze without an exit.


Editor's note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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