Bush Sr. - On Occupying Iraq
Bush Sr. - Situation Room - 1991
"TV pictures of the comprehensively incinerated Iraqi Column that had been attempting to flee Kuwait City raised fears of public revulsion and President Bush called a halt after only 100 hours of a land campaign." (http://www.answers.com/topic/gulf-war)
"By God, We’ve Kicked the Vietnam Syndrome"
Most people had not heard of the "Vietnam Syndrome," a term coined by Henry Kissinger, until George Bush announced to a group a state legislators on March 1, 1991 that we had "kicked it." In the post-Gulf War euphoria, in the words of one career military officer, "I think this war has healed the wounds of the Vietnam War. Our country really came together spiritually." (http://homepage.newschool.edu/~wilder/KickingVNSyndrome.html)
"Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different — and perhaps barren — outcome."
"A World Transformed" (1998) by George H.W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft; also as an excerpt in Time Magazine in 1998.
"Whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power — America in an Arab land — with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous. We don't gain the size of our victory by how many innocent kids running away — even though they're bad guys — that we can slaughter. ... We're American soldiers; we don't do business that way."
A statement to a reunion of Gulf War veterans (February 28, 1999) as quoted in "Bush tells Gulf vets why Hussein left in Baghdad" by S.H. Kelly, Pentagram (3 March 1999)