Former US president George Bush senior and members of his government have recalled the Gulf War as a time in history when the world stood united against a tyrant as well as a “textbook example” of how to go to battle.
Before a crowd of 3,500 people including Gulf War veterans, Mr Bush and key members of his national security team gathered at Texas A&M University to discuss the 20th anniversary of the conflict which began on January 17 1991.
The war was prompted by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 under then-President Saddam Hussein.
Mr Bush said helping to liberate Kuwait and guiding as commander in chief of the US-led coalition troops was one of the great honours of his life.
“A few things I probably could have done better, but in the case of Desert Storm (the military name for the Gulf War), history will say we got this one right,” he told the audience at the event, held at A&M’s basketball arena.
Sheikh Ahmad Humood Jaber Al-Sabah, representing Kuwait’s emir who was unable to attend, thanked the former president, his officials, the US and its military forces.
“Believe me, Kuwait and its people will never forget you,” he said. “We carry in our hearts what you did for us each and every day.”
Mr Bush was briefly joined by former vice president Dan Quayle. Later, his top advisers – then-defence secretary Dick Cheney, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Colin Powell, former secretary of state James Baker and then-national security adviser Brent Scowcroft – and Mohammad Abdullah Abulhasan, Kuwait’s ambassador to the United Nations at the time, took the stage and recalled the events leading up to the conflict.
Their discussion detailed the efforts the US made to try to resolve the situation diplomatically and build a worldwide coalition before deciding that military action was the only solution.
“This is a textbook example of the way to go to war. Diplomatically, politically, militarily of course and economically,” said Mr Baker, who added that Mr Bush left no stone unturned in seeking a peaceful way to resolve things.