In This Review

Desert Warrior: A Personal View of the Gulf War by the Joint Forces Commander
Desert Warrior: A Personal View of the Gulf War by the Joint Forces Commander
By Khaled Bin Sultan
Harpercollins, 1995, 492 pp
Purchase

This memoir, ghostwritten in part by a journalist with experience in the region, is a useful contribution to the literature on the Gulf War. Khaled, eldest son of the Saudi defense minister, at age 42 was promoted from his position as commander of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces to serve as Joint Forces Commander -- in effect, the senior Arab military officer in the coalition against Saddam. Like any memoirist, he at times inflates his role and tribulations during the war, and like many of his American colleagues he disregards much of the postwar analysis of the fighting. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of interesting material in the book's first half on Khaled's education and activities before the war, including negotiating with the Chinese for long-range missiles. Moreover, his discussion of the intricacies of coalition politics is extremely (if perhaps unintentionally) illuminating. At the end of one shouting match General Norman Schwarzkopf, the American commander, asked his Saudi counterpart, "Should I treat you as a general or as a prince?" Khaled recalls that he replied, "Both!" a reply that almost makes one feel sorry for Schwarzkopf.