This chapter demonstrates how the strategies of both sides in the Gulf War were governed by a sensitivity to its political context, both domestically and internationaly. In the Gulf, the administration was obliged to follow a version of graduated response in order to develop a domestic and international consensus supporting direct military action. US forces were initially committed to the Gulf in order to deter a perceived threat to Saudi Arabia following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990. So was the Iraqi strategy, which was based on threatening the United States with a "second Vietnam" and absorbing the air offensive. By the time Desert Storm began, the basic elements of the Iraqi order of battle as well as the essential elements of its communications and supply networks were well known to its opponents. Iraq's defensive preparations in Kuwait convinced Coalition leaders that Saddam Hussein was preparing for the long haul.