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Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney: First Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm

Published on 15 Mar 2019 / In Film & Animation

President Bush's Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney gives the first Pentagon briefing after the ground war started in the first Gulf War in 1991.

The Persian Gulf War


The first major conflict involving the United States since Vietnam proved to be a catharsis of sorts for the American military and public. Just as the Spanish-American War of 1898 gave the nation a "short victorious war" following the angst of the Civil War, the Gulf War lifted the U.S. out of a self-conscious, post-Vietnam malaise. However, just as the short war of 1898 quickly led to the bloody Philippine-American War, the Gulf War's dark legacy soon reared it's ugly head; the Gulf War Syndrome plagues veterans and the No-Fly Zone War, kept alive the violence and confrontation as a lead-in to the current Third Persian Gulf War, also known in the U.S. as the Iraq War.

There are nearly as many links dealing with Gulf War Syndrome as there are on the war itself. This is not really a surprise, considering the relative brevity of the war compared to the serious long-term consequences of the disease from which many veterans suffer.

Richard B. Cheney
March 21, 1989- January 20, 1993
17th Secretary of Defense
Bush Administration

President George Bush initially chose former Texas Sen. John G. Tower to be his secretary of defense. When the Senate in March 1989 rejected his nomination, Bush selected Rep. Richard B. (Dick) Cheney of Wyoming. Cheney, born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on 30 January 1941, attended Yale University, Casper College, and the University of Wyoming, where he earned B.A. (1965) and M.A. (1966) degrees. He went on to further graduate study in political science at the University of Wisconsin, and moved to Washington as a congressional fellow for the 1968-69 year.

Cheney entered federal service in 1969 as a special assistant to the director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1971 he became a White House staff assistant, and soon moved on to become assistant director of the Cost of Living Council, where he stayed until 1973. After a year in private business, he returned to the White House to become deputy assistant to President Gerald Ford (1974-75) and then White House chief of staff (1975-77).

In November 1978 Cheney, a Republican, won election as Wyoming's representative at large in the House of Representatives. Reelected for five additional terms, he served several years on the House Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Budget Subcommittee. In December 1988 House Republicans chose him to serve as whip in the incoming 101st Congress. Less than a week after Bush nominated him, the Senate confirmed Cheney as secretary of defense; he entered office on 21 March 1989.

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