The United States intervened in Iraq too late. Our most recent efforts there were essetially revenge for the genocide in the wake of our last efforts there. We caused the genocide by intervening and then leaving in the Gulf War.
I would say that the only sure way to have prevented the acts of Saddam Hussein would have been to be certain he was removed from power. The only way to do this would have been to increase the number of American soldiers on the ground. This would have been a very long and costly process. One that most likely would not have been supported by the majority of the US citizens.
I agree with the above posts. It is the same logic of people who argue against guns in the US. They say that criminals wouldn't have guns to rob banks or kill in the USA, and that making guns illegal will solve the problem. The truth is, if someone wants to kill someone badly enough (the genocide in Iraq or the violence in any place in the world), that person or persons will find a way to do it. Often, making one weapon illegal will only force the criminal to be more creative in the means of his or her destruction. The only thing making guns illegal will do is take away the abiding citizen's ability to defend him or herself in his or her own home against those who would rob, rape, steal, and kill.
There were a series of genocides in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, including the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians in 1988 and an estimated 300,000 Shia Muslims murdered in the southern third of the country after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Short of invasion, there are really only two ways to stop genocide, and neither of them are guaranteed effective. One is a no fly zone, which the US enforced from 1991 - 2003. This prevents air attacks and chemical weapons attacks, but does little to effectively stop ground forces. Two is to arm and equip rebels on the ground to fight their own battles, similar to what was done in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and in a more limited way, what is being done in Libya now.
I agree with the above poster though in saying that putting "boots on the ground" is the only real way to have controlled what went on there, and that was politically and practically impossible in both the instances I mentioned earlier.
I assume that you are talking about the things that Saddam Hussein did in the wake of the Persian Gulf War of 1991. After that war, Hussein and his government crushed rebellions by Shia Muslims and by Kurds in the north of the country.
In order to prevent this, the US and the coalition that fought the war would have had to have established a presence on the ground in Iraq. In other words, the coalition would have had to overthrow Saddam's government. This would have been very difficult to do, politically speaking because US allies had no desire to overthrow Saddam. Therefore, the only thing that could have been done to prevent the killings was politically impossible.
I would argue, then, that nothing could really have been done to stop these killings.