War and Conflict

Persian Gulf War

What did President George H.W. Bush mean when he said the U.S. had to “draw a line in the sand”?

President George H.W. Bush (1924-) was reacting to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s (1937-) act of aggression when on August 2, 1990, his troops invaded neighboring Kuwait. The United Nations (UN) gave Iraq until January 15, 1991, to withdraw from Kuwait. Iraq failed to comply. The “line in the sand” that Hussein crossed was soon defended: On January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Storm was launched to liberate the Arab nation of Kuwait from Iraq, whose military dictator had not only invaded Kuwait but proclaimed it a new Iraqi province. Bush averred, “This will not stand,” and in order to protect U.S. oil supplies in the country, the president mobilized U.S. forces, which were joined by a coalition of 39 nations, to soundly and quickly defeat Iraq.


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