Public Papers

Statement on the Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm


One year ago tonight I spoke to the American people at the moment an international coalition acting under United Nations authority went to war to end Saddam Hussein's brutal occupation of Kuwait. We can all take pride in the results of that effort: Kuwait is liberated, and the legitimate government restored; the fires set by Saddam's retreating army are extinguished; the flow of oil from the Gulf is secure from political and economic blackmail; much of Iraq's arsenal is destroyed, and what remains is now under international supervision; and the United Nations has been greatly strengthened.

The determination and strength demonstrated by the United States and its coalition partners has had lasting dividends throughout the region. A critical region of the world, vital to its economic well-being, is secure. Thanks in large part to our efforts, direct peace talks between Arabs and Israelis are underway for the first time, multilateral negotiations on regional arms control have begun, and America's hostages in Lebanon are home.

The coalition fought a limited war for a limited but vitally important purpose. It prevailed. Saddam's Iraq is weak and isolated, unable to impose its extremist policies on the region or the peace process. Nevertheless, the American people and I remain determined to keep the pressure on Saddam until a new leadership comes to power in Iraq. As was the case from the outset, our quarrel is not with the people of Iraq but with the dictator whose misrule has caused terrible suffering throughout the Middle East. We will maintain U.N. sanctions and keep Saddam's regime isolated, a pariah among nations. We will work to ensure adequate food and medicine reach the Iraqi people under international supervision, while denying Saddam the means to rebuild his weapons of mass destruction.

We salute the efforts of thousands of brave Iraqis who are resisting Saddam's rule, both inside and outside of Iraq. The United States reiterates its pledge to the Iraqi people and the Iraqi military that we stand ready to work with a new regime. A new leadership in Baghdad that accepts the U.N. resolutions and is ready to live at peace with its neighbors and its own people will find a partner in the United States, one willing to seek to lift economic sanctions and help restore Iraq to its rightful place in the family of nations.