cover image Storm Over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War

Storm Over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War

Richard P. Hallion. Smithsonian Books, $24.95 (383pp) ISBN 978-1-56098-190-9

Hallion, a former professor at the Army War College, argues persuasively that the Gulf war confirmed a major transformation in the nature of combat: the dominance of air power. Tracing the history of air power through its effective application in WW II and its misuse in Vietnam, he discusses the development of superfighters and air-to-air missiles in the post-Vietnam decade, analyzes the impact of the Army's AirLand Battle doctrine, then explains why the Air Force's 1990 white paper Global Reach-Global Power provoked an intense debate between air-power modernists and seapower traditionalists. Finally, he describes the whirlwind of destruction sent forth by U.S. air contingents during Desert Storm, leaving no doubt that on those rare occasions when American ground forces made contact with the Iraqi army, the U.S. weapon was almost invariably an air weapon: plane, helicopter or missile. Groundforce traditionalists and advocates of naval power-projection will take issue with Hallion's work, but he demonstrates authoritatively that air power was the decisive factor in the Gulf war. Illustrated. (Oct.)