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The Gulf War

Abstract

The background on the causes of the conflicts in Iraq covers the dispute that was triggered by Iraq invasion of Kuwait, where Saddam Hussein had ordered the invasion. Differences had arisen towards the inability of Kuwait to clear a debt repayment. Since Iraq was more powerful than Kuwait, this invasion caused damage to the Kuwaitis and the national security of Kuwait. Provided that Saddam had succeeded in seizing a vast portion of Kuwait, it was upon the Kuwaitis to either retaliate or ask for international help. The report explores the perspectives of the Persian Gulf Conflict in respect to Iraq situation.

The Gulf War

The Gulf War started in 1990 after Iraqi troops led by the dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and declared it the 19th province of Iraq. Given that Iraq was more powerful than Kuwait, this invasion caused damage to the Kuwaitis and the national security of Kuwait. Provided that Saddam had succeeded in seizing a vast portion of Kuwait, it was upon the Kuwaitis to either retaliate or ask for international help. The former was not an option for Iraq was a neighboring villain with a record of iron-fist leadership. The president of the USA, George Bush, then thought that Saddam had gone too far in invading Kuwait and offered to assist in pushing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. The international community followed the USA’s example and formed the coalition that was supposed to take Iraqi soldiers on an offensive mission to root them out of Kuwait (Allard & Kenneth, 1995).

The events that were unveiling had drawn too much media attention, and many reporters were in the forefront trying to capture a moment of the war to narrate something. On the side of the USA and coalition partners’ military, which allowed media to report on the issues as they happened, was a risk to both, the security of the USA and coalition military personnel, as it was to the image of USA. In order not to cut back the probability of such risks, the military personnel did not allow media reporters on the battlefront. Most of the reported events were according to the reports that the military briefers gave to the media. The fact about these reports was that they reported about one side of the story and aimed to prove a point to the public. The point was to make the public want to support that war by giving negative coverage about Saddam and Iraqi troops, while, on the other hand, portraying the USA military as considerate and fostering peace (Head et al., 1996). The Gulf War, like any other war, had casualties, deaths, and instilled fear to the people who were caught in the crossfire; however, it was one of the most censored in terms of reporting with reporters and newsrooms’ reportage on what was thought to be legitimate by the US government.

Literature review

Saddam Hussein was the leader who assumed office without the approval of the people he was leading or claimed to lead. The way he assumed office was followed by a series of executions and forceful assumption of office under the help of the USA. Following the same trend of assuming office without the consent from the citizens of Iraq, Saddam Hussein felt like he could extend that form of leadership to the neighboring Kuwait. However, the move was not welcomed by most of the international powers and they moved in to oppose it (Builder, 1996). This ushered in the war to evict Iraq from Kuwait with the USA leading amongst partners.

Before the alleged start of the war, President Bush (the senior) gave a briefing that an offensive led by the USA troops was going to take place to drive out Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. While he was giving this briefing, the bombardment of several military bases in Kuwait as believed to have been occupied by the Iraqi troops started. This shows that the public briefing that Bush was giving was not aimed to alert the public of some already going on war but to rather inform them on a war that was going to start. The reason for this was that a number of information channels that had sent reporters to cover the story live. If the information had been given to the press before the operation took place, it would have been possible for the Iraqi troops to get prepared before they were attacked. The government and the military were playing the same game of tossing the public on whichever side they wanted in terms of the information they were willing to give and the time they intended to release it (Janos, 1990).

Shielding of Media Personnel

The media war was the scramble for news, but there was also the problem, with which they were competing with the military. Usually, the commander assumes full responsibility of the undertakings of his crew and any other personnel that may be onboard. In order to protect the operations of the military, the commanders ensure that there is a protocol to follow in terms of engaging the enemy and informing the press. For this reason, information to the press has to follow a certain channel and has to cover certain events. Soldiers are advised to take caution when they are faced with the press, and only designated personnel should disseminate information. In order to achieve the goals of the military and protect the well being of the military personnel, it is important to have the press well shielded from the decision-making chambers and warfronts.

For shielding the press from uncovering information and events that might be of bad taste, the military decided to pool reporters so that they could report only on what concerned the interests of the public. Every group of troops would have a number of reporters, who were to cover events undertaken by that particular group. That selection and categorizing was referred to pooling and was under the control and protection of the military sergeants. The problem with the pooling system was that the only events that would qualify for reporting were those with certain elevation to the advantage of the military (Gordon, Michael and General Bernard, 1995). Reporters were left behind in camps as the military personnel went to the battlefront; this showed that there was technically nothing to report on.

With nothing first hand to report, the military briefers had to give the public back at home something to rely on. Following this underpinning, the military briefers had to rehearse on the content they intended to disclose to the reporters. Questions were answered selectively and at times, briefing allowed no questions. This practice shielded the press from reporting or informing the public on anything that the military thought to be damaging. Given that most of the American citizens were following the developments of the war on television, the military also had to control what types of images and video footages were appropriate for transmission. In order to achieve this, the images that showed military helping war victims, Iraqi soldiers committing atrocities, and displaced Kuwaitis were authorized for airing. The reason for this was to convince the public that there was a clear reason why the war was underway and somewhat win their support.

Conclusion

The Gulf War of 1991 was one among others where free press was highly restricted. For this reason, most of the information that the military allowed to the press was too minimal to make any impact on the public in terms of informative journalism. Following the censorship of the media, the public were tempted to believe that the US military had all the reasons to intervene with in the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. With most of the information aimed at damaging the reputation of the Middle East leadership, a number of American citizens believe that the Middle East leaders are a threat to international peace. This ideology has made every president coming to office involved with issues of the Middle East to control the out-of-control leaders.