Historical Highlights

President George H.W. Bush’s Joint Session on the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait

September 11, 1990
President George H.W. Bush’s Joint Session on the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait Image courtesy of Library of Congress A two-term Congressman from Texas, George H. W. Bush served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming Vice President and eventually President.
On this date, President George H. W. Bush addressed a Joint Session of Congress to explain the U.S. response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait six weeks earlier. With a large U.S. military buildup already under way in the region, the President outlined a series of goals: the unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces, the restoration of the Kuwaiti government, the promotion of regional “security and stability,” and the safety of U.S. citizens in Kuwait and Iraq. “Iraq will not be permitted to annex Kuwait,” Bush said. “That’s not a threat, or a boast, that’s just the way it’s going to be.” Bush also told the audience that included Representatives, Senators, and diplomats, including the Iraqi ambassador: “Out of these troubled times . . . a new world order . . . can emerge: A new era—freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace.” He used the looming crisis to urge Congress to approve a stalled budget agreement and to support a program for domestic oil exploration and production. The address, especially those portions pertaining to Iraq, was largely well received by House Members. Majority Leader  Richard Gephardt of Missouri, reflecting broad public support for the President’s position, said: “Here at home, the sense of unity and the absence of widespread opposition to this action in the Persian Gulf testify to our powerful, instinctive feeling that this is a cause worth standing and fighting for.” In early 1991, by a vote of 250 to 183, the House passed the Persian Gulf Resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against the Iraqi military.

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