Here is a video excerpt of Bush's Address to the Nation.
Scroll down for the transcript.
It follows the full text transcript of
George H.W. Bush's Address to the Nation, his
The Liberation of Kuwait speech, broadcast from the Oval
Office in the White House at Washington D.C. - January 16,
Just 2 hours ago,
allied air forces began an attack on military
targets in Iraq and Kuwait.
continue as I speak. Ground forces are not
started August 2nd when the dictator of Iraq
invaded a small and helpless neighbor. Kuwait, a
member of the Arab League and a member of the
United Nations, was crushed; its people,
brutalized. Five months ago, Saddam Hussein
started this cruel war against Kuwait. Tonight,
the battle has been joined.
This military action, taken in accord with
United Nations resolutions and with the consent
of the United States Congress, follows months of
constant and virtually endless diplomatic
activity on the part of the United Nations, the
United States, and many, many other countries.
Arab leaders sought what became known as an Arab
solution, only to conclude that Saddam Hussein
was unwilling to leave Kuwait. Others traveled
to Baghdad in a variety of efforts to restore
peace and justice. Our Secretary of State, James
Baker, held an historic meeting in Geneva, only
to be totally rebuffed. This past weekend, in a
last-ditch effort, the Secretary-General of the
United Nations went to the Middle East with
peace in his heart, his second such mission. And
he came back from Baghdad with no progress at
all in getting Saddam Hussein to withdraw from
Now the 28 countries with forces in the Gulf
area have exhausted all reasonable efforts to
reach a peaceful resolution, have no choice but
to drive Saddam from Kuwait by force. We will
As I report to you, air attacks are underway
against military targets in Iraq. We are
determined to knock out Saddam Hussein's nuclear
bomb potential. We will also destroy his
chemical weapons facilities. Much of Saddam's
artillery and tanks will be destroyed. Our
operations are designed to best protect the
lives of all the coalition forces by targeting
Saddam's vast military arsenal. Initial reports
from General Schwarzkopf are that our operations
are proceeding according to plan.
Our objectives are clear: Saddam Hussein's
forces will leave Kuwait. The legitimate
government of Kuwait will be restored to its
rightful place, and Kuwait will once again be
free. Iraq will eventually comply with all
relevant United Nations resolutions, and then,
when peace is restored, it is our hope that Iraq
will live as a peaceful and cooperative member
of the family of nations, thus enhancing the
security and stability of the Gulf.
Some may ask: Why act now? Why not wait? The
answer is clear: The world could wait no longer.
Sanctions, though having some effect, showed no
signs of accomplishing their objective.
Sanctions were tried for well over 5 months, and
we and our allies concluded that sanctions alone
would not force Saddam from Kuwait.
While the world waited, Saddam Hussein
systematically raped, pillaged, and plundered a
tiny nation, no threat to his own. He subjected
the people of Kuwait to unspeakable atrocities,
and among those maimed and murdered, innocent
While the world waited, Saddam sought to add to
the chemical weapons arsenal he now possesses,
an infinitely more dangerous weapon of mass
destruction -- a nuclear weapon. And while the
world waited, while the world talked peace and
withdrawal, Saddam Hussein dug in and moved
massive forces into Kuwait.
While the world waited, while Saddam stalled,
more damage was being done to the fragile
economies of the Third World, emerging
democracies of Eastern Europe, to the entire
world, including to our own economy.
The United States, together with the United
Nations, exhausted every means at our disposal
to bring this crisis to a peaceful end. However,
Saddam clearly felt that by stalling and
threatening and defying the United Nations, he
could weaken the forces arrayed against him.
While the world waited, Saddam Hussein met every
overture of peace with open contempt. While the
world prayed for peace, Saddam prepared for war.
I had hoped that when the United States
Congress, in historic debate, took its resolute
action, Saddam would realize he could not
prevail and would move out of Kuwait in accord
with the United Nation resolutions. He did not
do that. Instead, he remained intransigent,
certain that time was on his side.
Saddam was warned over and over again to comply
with the will of the United Nations: Leave
Kuwait, or be driven out. Saddam has arrogantly
rejected all warnings. Instead, he tried to make
this a dispute between Iraq and the United
States of America.
Well, he failed. Tonight, 28 nations --
countries from 5 continents, Europe and Asia,
Africa, and the Arab League -- have forces in
the Gulf area standing shoulder to shoulder
against Saddam Hussein. These countries had
hoped the use of force could be avoided.
Regrettably, we now believe that only force will
make him leave.
Prior to ordering our forces into battle, I
instructed our military commanders to take every
necessary step to prevail as quickly as
possible, and with the greatest degree of
protection possible for American and allied
service men and women. I've told the American
people before that this will not be another
Vietnam, and I repeat this here tonight. Our
troops will have the best possible support in
the entire world, and they will not be asked to
fight with one hand tied behind their back. I'm
hopeful that this fighting will not go on for
long and that casualties will be held to an
This is an historic moment. We have in this past
year made great progress in ending the long era
of conflict and cold war. We have before us the
opportunity to forge for ourselves and for
future generations a new world order -- a world
where the rule of law, not the law of the
jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we
are successful -- and we will be -- we have a
real chance at this new world order, an order in
which a credible United Nations can use its
peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and
vision of the U.N.'s founders.
We have no argument with the people of Iraq.
Indeed, for the innocents caught in this
conflict, I pray for their safety. Our goal is
not the conquest of Iraq. It is the liberation
of Kuwait. It is my hope that somehow the Iraqi
people can, even now, convince their dictator
that he must lay down his arms, leave Kuwait,
and let Iraq itself rejoin the family of
Thomas Paine wrote many years ago: "These are
the times that try men's souls." Those
well-known words are so very true today. But
even as planes of the multinational forces
attack Iraq, I prefer to think of peace, not
war. I am convinced not only that we will
prevail but that out of the horror of combat
will come the recognition that no nation can
stand against a world united, no nation will be
permitted to brutally assault its neighbor.
No president can easily commit our sons and
daughters to war. They are the Nation's finest.
Ours is an all-volunteer force, magnificently
trained, highly motivated. The troops know why
they're there. And listen to what they say, for
they've said it better than any President or
Prime Minister ever could.
Listen to Hollywood Huddleston, Marine lance
corporal. He says, "Let's free these people, so
we can go home and be free again." And he's
right. The terrible crimes and tortures
committed by Saddam's henchmen against the
innocent people of Kuwait are an affront to
mankind and a challenge to the freedom of all.
Listen to one of our great officers out there,
Marine Lieutenant General Walter Boomer. He
said: "There are things worth fighting for. A
world in which brutality and lawlessness are
allowed to go unchecked isn't the kind of world
we're going to want to live in."
Listen to Master Sergeant J.P. Kendall of the
82nd Airborne: "We're here for more than just
the price of a gallon of gas. What we're doing
is going to chart the future of the world for
the next 100 years. It's better to deal with
this guy now than 5 years from now."
And finally, we should all sit up and listen to
Jackie Jones, an Army lieutenant, when she says,
"If we let him get away with this, who knows
what's going to be next?"
I have called upon Hollywood and Walter and J.P.
and Jackie and all their courageous
comrades-in-arms to do what must be done.
Tonight, America and the world are deeply
grateful to them and to their families. And let
me say to everyone listening or watching
tonight: When the troops we've sent in finish
their work, I am determined to bring them home
as soon as possible.
Tonight, as our forces fight, they and their
families are in our prayers. May God bless each
and every one of them, and the coalition forces
at our side in the Gulf, and may He continue to
bless our nation, the United States of America.