Colin Powell's War
It is only four years since the sensational victory of the United States and its allies that drove the Iraqi army out of Kuwait in a helter-skelter flight for survival after just 100 hours of fighting. At the time, this amazingly brief and successful war seemed to mark the beginning of an era in which the remaining superpower had definitively accepted its responsibility for collective security. The prestige of the United States and its President were extremely high, their prospects for continuing leadership apparently excellent.
Only days after the victory, however, a reporter asked President Bush why he seemed so somber: “Aren’t these great days?” The President replied:
You know, to be very honest with you, I haven’t felt this wonderfully euphoric feeling that many of the American people feel. . . . But I think it’s that I want to see an end. You mentioned World War II—there was a definitive end to that conflict. And now we have Saddam Hussein still there—the man that wreaked this havoc upon his neighbors.
About the Author
Donald Kagan, Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale, is the author of Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy, On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, and, most recently, The Peloponnesian War (2003), drawn from his earlier four-volume history of that conflict. Mr. Kagan served as dean of Yale College from 1989 to 1992.