WE cannot fault them actually. Their understanding of warfare methods and techniques was shaped by Soviet input and limited to what they saw in the past and particularly in Vietnam. Their Soviet allies were thinking on the same lines as well, and therefore the "reassurance card." In fact, Pakistani COAS General Mirza Aslam Beg also felt that Iraq will prove expensive to American military machine in 1991 much like Vietnam.what the Iraqis didn’t realize such tactics have become obsolete in face of technically and technologically superior force.. Iraqis should have changed strategy..
Americans completely surprised not just the Iraqi military establishment but the entire world in 1991 with a new method of warfare (network-centric; situational awareness) and corresponding tools (using special forces to create gaps in Iraqi radar coverage under the cover of darkness; using standoff precision munitions including cruise missiles to strike at Iraqi military positions, command-and-communications (C2C) infrastructure, and centers of power in all-weather conditions; using stealthy aircraft coupled with dedicated electronic warfare platforms to infiltrate Iraqi defenses to wreck further havoc) - these were all meaningful innovations and a FIRST. When it came to exchanging blows on the surface, Americans adopted encirclement tactics (blending of German Blitzkrieg and Alexander's Hammer & Anvil) and M1A1 Abrams MBT outgunned as well as tanked all manner of Iraqi armor.
Persian Gulf War (1991) is one of the most instructive when it comes to understanding modern-age conventional warfare tactics. However, expect more surprises in the future.
Scientific knowledge base and corresponding industrial capabilities are very important considerations. The key to success is through innovations and producing tacticians from time-to-time.