|Source:The National Interest- American fighter jets|
To answer Robert Farley's question, I think the answer would be chaos. If you think 2003 was a bad time to invade and take out the Hussein Regime in Iraq, especially the unilateral way we did it, that would have been a great time compared with 1991. We take out Saddam in 1991 and he's either replaced by another Baathist dictator like one of his sons and what would we have gained from that? Or almost twenty-five years later we're still trying to occupy Iraq today. America, was in recession in 1991 and had its own economic and financial problems at home. And couldn't afford to take on the responsibility of occupying another big country.
And the economic boom that we had in the 1990s probably doesn't come about in America, because we're spending so much money in Iraq. At least in 2003 there was something that looked like an opposition and there were people that could come in and at least temporarily run the Iraqi Republic. It just took them more than two-years after the invasion to make that come about. There wasn't any at least moderate opposition to the Baathists in 1991. There was Saddam and his Baathists and anyone who opposed them risked their own lives as a result.
The 1991 Gulf War was a very simply and well-executed. Get Iraq out of Kuwait and protect our economic and energy interests in Kuwait. That war was in the national and self-interest of the United States. To not have a Baathist dictator in charge of one of the largest oil suppliers in the world to go on top of his already large supply of oil and gas in Iraq. This was not some idealistic neoconservative utopian war that was about bringing freedom and liberal democracy to a country of twenty-million that had no idea what those things were.
President George H.W. Bush and his National Security Council, didn't want to invade and occupy a country about the size of California in land and about the same population as Texas. Just because Iraq invaded Kuwait, an Arab ally of America's. All they wanted to do was get Iraq out of Kuwait and put Iraq in a tight box so they couldn't invade anyone else again. Which they remained in for the next twelve years with Iraq being so weak that they had a hard time feeding themselves. In were never in any position to attack another country again.
The 1991 Gulf War, was conservative foreign policy and national security at its best. Protect American national interests which was the energy supply coming from Kuwait. Which has a peaceful and moderate regime, as well as a strong economy. And get an evil tyrant out of that country and box him in so he can't invade anyone else. Not to bring peace and liberal democracy to a country that has never heard of those things. The Gulf War, was probably H.W. Bush's finest days as President of the United States, with the grand coalition of European and Arab allies that he bad behind him.
And why you wanted someone who his professional and national security background as Commander-In-Chief in a time like that. Instead of having a dove in there who generally sees American strength and use of force as a bad if not evil think, who tends to be against the American military and things that it does. Or someone in there who would've done nothing and froze, because they didn't know what to do. Because they lacked the experience and judgement in foreign affairs. And another reason why the 2003 Iraq War was an unnecessary mistake, because we already had Saddam under control and so weak to the point that Iraq didn't even bother defending themselves in that war.