‘Band of Brothers’ Mark Gulf War Anniversary

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. — The first President Bush, now 86, walked unsteadily to his seat on the stage. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was Mr. Bush’s defense secretary, spoke as a mechanical device pumped his failing heart. The others were grayer, balder or bearers of the scars of fresher wars.

For what could well be the last time, the major American decision-makers in the 1991 invasion that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait gathered here on Thursday night, celebrating the 20th anniversary of what they quietly consider the “good” Iraq war — as opposed to the one that the second President Bush ordered in 2003.

Not that anyone was making direct comparisons, and, notably, former President George W. Bush was not there. But the contrast was implicit in the mostly rosy recollections of the tight circle of men who helped President George Bush wage the 43 days of fighting and the 100-hour ground battle that brought the Persian Gulf war to an end: Colin L. Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time; James A. Baker III, the secretary of state; Brent Scowcroft, the elder Mr. Bush’s national security adviser; former Vice President Dan Quayle; and Gen. Walter E. Boomer, retired, the top Marine commander in the 1991 war....

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