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  The History of America at War - Focus: The Gulf War  
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On Aug. 2, 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, facing an insurmountable debt from their long war with Iran, ordered his troops to invade and occupy the small country of Kuwait. The invasion force quickly overwhelmed the small country to the south, thus allowing Iraq to declare, in less that a week, that Kuwait had become its nineteenth province. Kuwait is part of the Middle East and produces over ten percent of the world's oil. The Persian Gulf War of 1991--from January 16 to February 28--was fought to expel Iraq and restore Kuwaiti independence.

The United Nations responded, passing a series of resolutions condemning the invasion, called for an immediate withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait, imposed financial and trade embargo’s and declared the annexation void. President George H. W. Bush, regarding the actions as a threat to a vital U.S. interest, namely the oil production capability of the Persian Gulf Region, immediately ordered warplanes and ground forces to Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd’s. Iraqi troops had begun to mass along the Saudi Arabian border indicating the possibility of an attack into the Saudi oil fields. The first course of action lasted for five months, from August 1990 until January 1991. The diplomatic community conducted furious and fast paced diplomatic activity aimed at getting Iraq out of Kuwait, but to no avail.

President Bush reacted by creating Operation Desert Storm, the largest land operation since World War II. Led by General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the coalition forces land operation made its way through Iraqi forces and liberated Kuwait in 100 hours.

President Bush made it clear from the start that our objectives in the Gulf were to remove Saddam's forces from Kuwait and restore the lawful government. These same "objectives" were adopted by the U.N. and accomplished with overwhelming success. The use of force in the Gulf War was necessary, morally justified, and legal under international law. The actions taken were proportional to the threat and designed to accomplish the stated and limited objective of removing a hostile invading force from a sovereign territory.