Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait and UAE of flooding the oil market in July, 1990 and putting a downward pressure on oil prices. Saddam also alleged that Kuwait was stealing oil from a disputed oil field named Rumaila. Saddam ordered his forces to invade Kuwait which quickly occupied the country in August 1990 and forced Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber Al Sabah to seek U.S. military assistance. In the meanwhile, U.N. passed a resolution, calling for complete withdrawal of Iraqi forces by January 15, 1991 or else face military response. Iraq ignored warnings which led to the formation of coalition alliance comprising of 36 countries. On January 12, 1991, Congress had already given President Bush the authority to wage war. Air and missile combat had significantly weakened Iraqi military after about five weeks which made it easier for the ground troops to enter Kuwait and secure cease-fire from Iraq after only 100 hours (Military.com).
If President Bush had ordered U.S. military to pursue Saddam Hussein after Iraq had been defeated, Saddam Hussein would have been found quicker than he was after 2003 Iraq invasion. This would have been due to several factors. First of all, there was an allied alliance which means U.S. would have more resources at its disposal. Second, Iraqi forces were quite weakened and the incentive of pardon could have been used to buy their loyalty. Pursuing Saddam would have been the right thing because U.S. had the support of international community and its actions would not have faced the opposition that it faced after 2003 Iraqi invasion. In addition, it would also have sent a strong message to the neighboring Arab countries and would have significantly improved U.S. political leverage. Such an action would also have resulted in greater loyalty from other regimes in the region such as Iran which are less willing to cooperate now due to weaker U.S. political leverage as a result of failures in Iraq.
Military.com. (n.d.). The Gulf War. Retrieved June 24, 2013, from http://www.military.com/Resources/HistorySubmittedFileView?file=history_gulfwar.htm