General Colin Powell
made famous the so-called Powell Doctrine
as part of the run up to the 1990-1991 Gulf War
Powell believes that forces should only be deployed when national interest, commitment, and support have been established.
However, once those conditions have been met, there should be use of overwhelming force in the military encounter - rather than proportional response.
This part is perhaps best illustrated by his quote (as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War) about the Iraqi Army:
- "First we're going to cut it off, then we're going to kill it."
After victory, the military should leave the field of engagement, rather than staying around as peacekeepers.
It has been argued that the Doctrine follows from principles laid out by Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger (and Colin Powell's boss):
- Is a vital US interest at stake?
- Will we commit sufficient resources to win?
- Are the objectives clearly defined?
- Will we sustain the commitment?
- Is there reasonable expectation that the public and Congress will support the operation?
- Have we exhausted our other options?