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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

In fiction

Comic Books

  • Cherry (of all characters) in "Sgt. Cherry and her Squealing Commandos" in Cherry Comics. (And, yes, it was a satire.)
  • The Punisher has recently 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...

Real Life

  • Supposedly, PTSD caused from his time in Iraq, combined with a nasty divorce when he came home, is what caused the DC Beltway Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, to go on his killing spree. His stated intent was to round up orphans and train them into a militia and overthrow the government.
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