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Powell was a professional soldier for 35 years, during which time he held a variety of command and staff positions and rose to the rank of 4-star General. His last assignment, from October 1, 1989 to September 30, 1993, was as the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest military position in the Department of Defense. During this time, he oversaw 28 crises, including Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. During these events, Powell earned a reputation as being a very dovish military leader.
He was opposed to the majority of George H.W. Bush Administration officials who advocated the deployment of troops to the Middle East to force Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to withdraw his armies from neighbouring Kuwait, believing the dictator could instead be contained through sanctions and a buildup of forces around Kuwait, a plan soon dubbed Powell doctrine. This course of action was not ultimately followed however, and troops were deployed.
As an officer, Powell also values loyalty very highly, and as a result, does not usually undermine policies he disagrees with after they are implemented. Thus, while initially opposing the plan that would become Operation Desert Storm, Powell nevertheless supported it once it became official policy, and gave it his full dedication.
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