Gulf War

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    "We have just started a war, it isn't a one day affair. It is not going to be over before the next commercial break."
    Colin Powell, then serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

    Note: This article is about the 1990-1991 war in the Persian Gulf and Kuwait, also known as Operation Desert Storm. If you are looking for what some refer to as "Gulf War II", then please see The War on Terror. In fact, that is the third Gulf War and this is the second: The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s was originally called the Persian Gulf War because of its impact on shipping.

    The Gulf War lasted from August 1990 to March 1991.

    Basically put, Saddam Hussein launched an invasion of Kuwait to acquire control of its oil and was ejected by a United Nations coalition led by the United States.

    A fuller history can be found in History of the Cold War, as it was the final "Cold War" conflict.

    Tropes Involved with this War
    • The Alliance
    • Aussies With Artillery
    • Batman Gambit: The Coalition massed naval assets in the Gulf, and pounded Iraqi defenses along the coast, implying an impending massed amphibious assault. Once the Iraqis had committed to defending against that, in came the infamous "Left Hook" land invasion via Saudi Arabia.
    • Big Damn Heroes: The Western and the Arabic allies, to the Kuwaitis at least.
    • Buried Alive: It turns out, equipping modern tanks with bulldozer blades make short work of defensive trenches.
    • Brits With Battleships: Non-literal, as both battleships present were American.
    • Canucks With Chinooks: Yes, we were there too.
    • Curb Stomp Battle: Desert Storm, the actual air and ground assault to liberate Kuwait and destroy Iraqi infrastructure lasted roughly 2 months. The ratio of Iraqis killed to coalition members killed were 30 to 1. Unfortunately, the Iraqi army and independents would learn from their mistakes a decade later.
    • Death From Above: Extensive use of airpower, centralized command and control of the numerous different air forces employed, and state of the art technology (stealth fighters, cruise missiles, and smart bombs) went far to contribute to the above mentioned Curb Stomp Battle. Of particular note is USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri being the last use of a Battleship in combat ever.
    • Hero Ball/What an Idiot!: If George H.W. Bush, or the United Nations, just went the whole way and just overthrown Saddam Hussein, it would had saved his son as well the Kurds, everyone else in Iraq and the whole world a lot of troubles.
      • However, most argue that due to pre-existing ethnic tensions between Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds in the country, that the occupation would have been just as bloody as the occupation of the 2000s.
      • According to General Schwarzkopf's autobiography, President Bush didn't have a choice -- the Saudis only consented to the alliance on the terms that the US would only settle for getting Iraq out of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and not depose the Saddam regime after the war. This makes more sense if you remember that Iraq is between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and at that time Saddam was the main thing keeping the Iranians from busting out and running roughshod over the region.
    • Gauls With Grenades: The French would be glad to know that they're no longer Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys, considering they took part in the war. Not to mention the fact that the bulk of the Iraqi forces choose to surrender than fight at all, which would make them worthy of the title instead.
    • Grey and Black Morality: From the point of view of most Muslims at least: Genocidal, imperiaist dictator seeking more oil revenue to exploit versus Americans fighting to maintain their own stranglehold on Gulf oil and their corrupt and repressive monarchist cronies.
    • No Kill Like Overkill: The largest military invasion force post-World War II equipped with the greatest late Cold War tech against an essentially bankrupt third world dictator.
      • The Last Dance: The Soviet Union fell apart during planning, and any Coalition commander could see the harsh incoming budget cuts coming. If your forces are going to be downsized/mothballed/scrapped soon anyways, might as well make the last outing one to remember.
    • Prequel / Foreshadowing: To the The War in Iraq
    • Qurac
    • Redshirt Army: Iraq and to a lesser extent, Kuwait.
    • Salt the Earth: The retreating Iraqi forces set Kuwait's oil wells ablaze, just because they could.
    • Sequel: To the Iran-Iraq War
    • Springtime for Hitler/Sheathe Your Sword: Rather than slow down the coalition by being expendable, Iraqi conscripts surrendered en masse. The logistical nightmare of handling thousands of PoWs actually slowed the coalition down more than them fighting would have.
    • Stupid Evil: The Iraqi Army putting out it's right flank in the open as if to say,"Oh please attack me your blessedness".
    • 24-Hour News Networks: The first big story to prove their worth.
    • Yanks With Tanks and Stealth Fighters
    Examples of Gulf War include:

    Comic Books

    • Cherry (of all characters) in "Sgt. Cherry and her Squealing Commandos" in Cherry Comics. (And, yes, it was a satire.)
    • Thanks to Comic Book Time, The Punisher has had the Gulf War retconned into his past, replacing his longstanding status as a Vietnam Vet. The logic given by the writer is that if he was a Vietnam Vet he would be approaching his seventies, while he wanted to portray Frank as a man in his early forties.


    • In Independence Day, it is mentioned that the relatively-youthful President Thomas Whitmore served as a fighter pilot during the Gulf War. It comes in handy.
    • Three Kings
    • Jarhead
    • The Big Lebowski takes place during the Gulf War. The Dude says "this aggression will not stand, man," echoing George HW Bush's televised speech, while Saddam Hussein (played by Jerry Haleva, who repeatedly portrayed Hussein in movies) appears in The Dude's infamous dream sequence.
    • The remake of The Manchurian Candidate
    • Courage Under Fire
    • Live from Baghdad
    • Drillbit Taylor the title character was a soldier who served in the gulf war but didn't see any real combat, and AWOL from the army.


    • Anthony Swofford's memoir, Jarhead.
    • Joel Turnipseed's memoir, Baghdad Express
    • Only You Can Save Mankind is set during the Gulf War and makes comments about the similarities between video games and the news coverage of that war.

    Live Action TV

    • Gunnery Sergeant Leroy Jethro Gibbs from NCIS served as a Marine in Desert Storm and was severely injured, spending nineteen days in a coma. The murder of his wife and daughter while he was in Kuwait did not help things.
    • Dennis from Just Shoot Me often claimed to have driven a tank during the war.
    • Robert McAllister in Brothers and Sisters is a Gulf War veteran, injured in that conflict. He won a medal that he doesn't feel he fully deserved- he froze in combat.
    • Drop the Dead Donkey referred to the exploits of the Globelink News team during the war; including Damien dunking cormorants in oil in order to provide visuals for a story on the ecological impact of the war.

    Professional Wrestling

    • Sgt. Slaughter turned heel and became an "Iraqi Sympathiser" during the war, winning the WWF Title and then dropping it to Hulk Hogan after the war finished (although, in one of wrestling's most embarrassing incidents, the end of the war was not acknowledged on WWF TV until Hogan had the belt again).

    Video Games

    • The Battlefield 1942 mod Desert Combat.
    • One of the final chapters of Eternal Darkness is set in the immediate aftermath of the Gulf War. Given an earlier chapter's setting, the game seems to like less depicted conflicts...

    Wherever disaster and death lurk, there is likely to be an Ancient just beyond our senses, waiting. They prey on our misfortune and exploit it for their own twisted ends. When hundreds of oil fields are set ablaze on the heels of war, the Ancient's grip tightens, knowing that lives will be forfeit and resources squandered. Yet there are those who make a difference. People like Michael Edwards - a Canadian industrial firefighter hired to put an end to the insanity at the end of the war. Unfortunately for him, the insanity was just beginning...