The Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), codenamed Operation Desert Shield (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) in its combat phase, was a war waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. The war is also known under other names, such as the Gulf War, First Gulf War, Gulf War I, Kuwait War, First Iraq War, or Iraq War
- Tonight in Iraq, Saddam walks amidst ruin. His war machine is crushed. His ability to threaten mass destruction is itself destroyed.
- Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power — America in an Arab land — with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous. We don't gain the size of our victory by how many innocent kids running away — even though they're bad guys — that we can slaughter. … We're American soldiers; we don't do business that way.
- George H. W. Bush A statement to a reunion of Gulf War veterans (February 28, 1999) as quoted in "Bush tells Gulf vets why Hussein left in Baghdad" by S.H. Kelly, Pentagram (3 March 1999)
- Because if we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world. And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, the west. Part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim. Fought over for eight years. In the north, you've got the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. The other thing is casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had, but for the 146 Americans killed in action and for the families it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was, how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? And our judgment was not very many, and I think we got it right.
- Europe is an economic giant, a political dwarf, and a military worm.
- Mark Eyskens, as quoted by Craig R. Whitney in WAR IN THE GULF: EUROPE; Gulf Fighting Shatters Europeans' Fragile Unity, The New York Times, January 25th, 1991.
- This phrase was pronounced in January 1991, a few days before the beginning of Desert Storm, while Eyskens was the Foreign Minister of Belgium
- Those guys [in the Persian Gulf War] were in hog heaven, man. They had a weapons catalog, "What's G-12 do, Tommy?" "Says here it destroys everything but the fillings in their teeth, helps pay for the war effort." Well, shit, pull that one up!" "Pull up G-12, please." [sound of a missile launch, several beats, then an explosion]] "...Cool. What's G-13 do?"
- The great duel, the mother of all battles has begun.… The dawn of victory nears as this great showdown begins!
- The U.S. military swatted Saddam’s army, rated as one of the world’s better forces, like so many flies in the first Gulf War, and by the time of the second our conventional superiority was even greater.
- Our strategy in going after this army is very simple. First we are going to cut it off, and then we are going to kill it.
- Senator Kerry now tells us he has a clear position on the [war on terror]. He voted no on [Desert Storm] in 1991 and yes on [Desert Shield] today. Then he voted no on [troop funding], just after he'd voted yes. He's campaigned against the [war] all year, but says he'd vote yes today. This nation can't afford [presidential leadership] that comes in 57 varieties.
- Mitt Romney, Republican Convention Speech, 2004.
- As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist: He is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he's a great military man.
- Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., Gulf War briefing (28 February 1991), as quoted in "WAR IN THE GULF: Commander's Briefing; Excerpts From Schwarzkopf News Conference on Gulf War" in The New York Times'
- I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air—the rather nauseating stench of appeasement.
- I was convinced before the war that the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein required a vigorous and sustained international response to disarm him. Iraq possessed and had used chemical weapons; it had an active biological weapons program and quite possibly a nuclear research program — all of which were in violation of United Nations resolutions. Having encountered Mr. Hussein and his thugs in the run-up to the Persian Gulf war of 1991, I was only too aware of the dangers he posed.
But were these dangers the same ones the administration told us about? We have to find out. America's foreign policy depends on the sanctity of its information. For this reason, questioning the selective use of intelligence to justify the war in Iraq is neither idle sniping nor "revisionist history," as Mr. Bush has suggested. The act of war is the last option of a democracy, taken when there is a grave threat to our national security. More than 200 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq already. We have a duty to ensure that their sacrifice came for the right reasons.
- Iraq so far has failed to comply with paragraph 2 of resolution 660 (1990) and has usurped the authority of the legitimate Government of Kuwait.
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 661 (6 August 1990)