Norman Schwarzkopf, the U.S. Army general who led American and coalition troops into Iraq in 1991 under the context of putting a stop to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, has died at 78. Schwarzkopf died December 27 in Tampa, Florida, of complications from pneumonia.
An obscure officer before the conflict in the Middle East, Schwarzkopf “became a household name while he oversaw the buildup of 700,000 coalition troops, including more than 540,000 U.S. forces, after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990,” reported CNN. The brief conflict, which would become known in history as the Persian Gulf War, consisted essentially of a nearly six-week air campaign against Iraq that commenced on January 17, 1991, followed up by a 100-hour ground offensive that successfully pushed Hussein's forces out of Kuwait.
The mini-war — which was launched under the auspices of the United Nations, without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war — succeeded in giving the United States a high-profile victory over a minor dictator which the press beefed up into an ominous threat to Middle East security. It also provided the context that then-President George H.W. Bush needed to pursue what he referred to as the “new world order.” On September 11, 1990, Bush told a joint session of Congress that the Persian Gulf crisis would offer “a rare opportunity” to move closer to a “new world order ... a new era freer from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, east and west, north and south, can prosper and live in harmony.” How would such an era be achieved? In the same address, Bush approvingly observed that “we're now in sight of a United Nations that performs as envisioned by its founders” and that “the United Nations is backing up its words with action.”
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Photo of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf: AP Images