Shifting Sands: Air Coercion and Iraq, 1991-2003.

Author:O'Connell, John F.
Position::Book review

Shifting Sands: Air Coercion and Iraq, 1991-2003. By J. R. McKay. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre Production Section, 2014. Bibliography. Pp. 189. E-publication ISBN 978-1-100-54623-0.

This is an interesting review of the use of air power as an instrument of coercion in Iraq, presented by a Canadian, who is an Assistant Professor at the Royal Military College of Canada.

McKay goes into great detail in outlining the meaning of "coercion." He goes on to examine coercive attempts during three American political administrations: Bush the elder, Clinton, and Bush the junior--outlining their successes and failures. He also discusses the Coalition (nations): Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council States, and Turkey--describing their motivations and the limiting political and economic factors affecting their support for various coercive measures that were proposed or implemented.

The book examines specific operations: Desert Storm, the aftermath involving the Kurds, Provide Comfort/Provide Comfort II, Southern Watch, January 1993, Vigilant Warrior, Desert Strike, and Desert Fox.

In his final chapter, McKay assesses the triumphs and failures of coercive measures as carried out through air power. I disagree with an early sentence of his where he states "Cruise missiles and air power are swift means of applying force in a...

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