Almost everything about the morning of August 2, 1990 was normal in the nation’s capital for the time of summer. No rain was due to cool the sweltering humidity for the next few days in spite of a hurricane passing off the Atlantic coast a few days earlier. It would be another two months before the Supreme Court was back in session, and activities in Congress were winding down for a brief recess while visitors flocked to tourist attractions and filled the sun-drenched walkways along the banks of the Potomac River.1
But in the Oval Office activities were far removed from a lazy day. President George Bush had already met with his National Security Adviser at 5:00 a.m. for a situation update on events from the previous evening. An Executive Order was issued to prevent criminal networks from transferring billions of dollars out of American financial institutions, and the aircraft-carrier battle group Independence (CV-62) began an immediate course from the Indian Ocean to the emerging crisis in the Persian Gulf. The coming hours would be the most hectic for the Commander-in-Chief since he took the oath of office approximately eighteen months earlier. Destabilizing the entire Middle East with claims that the defenseless but oil-rich emirate was in the realm of his dictatorship, Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait.2
1. Weather/Climate Events, “Monthly Climatic Data for the World,” NOAA Satellite and Information Service, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climateresearch.html. Eve Zibart, The Unofficial Guide to Washington D.C. (Hoboken: Wiley, 2007), 11-14.
2. George Bush, All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings (New York: Scribner, 1999), 476-477. Alistair Finlan, Essential Histories: The Gulf War 1991 (Oxford: Osprey, 2003), 38. Edmund A. Ghareeb, Historical Dictionary of Iraq (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2004), 143-145.