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Essay – Desert Storm

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    The war was described as “cities like Baghdad getting shelled from miles and miles away” (T. Clemens). In reality, 90 percent of the bombing done was unguided “dumb” bombs dropped from planes above the target. If the public had been told this during the war, there more than likely would have been an addition

    Woodstock from viewpoints such as “it would [not] be a very good choice at all, it’s a bad idea” O. Clemens). The IJ. S. government limited and required the media to only report certain things in Desert Storm. This was to cover unneeded violence and the government and President George H. W. Bush’s decisions. Operation Desert Storm was part of the Persian Gulf War. The Iraqi government, led by Saddam Hussein, had invaded Kuwait. Kuwait is a large exporter of oil to the US so naturally everyone in the country was wary.

    Another concern was that Iraq’s troops might continue on into Saudi Arabia. If it had come to this, Iraq would have been controlling 1/5 of the world’s oil (ushistory. org). President Bush counteracted by setting up troops all along the border of Saudi Arabia so that it couldn’t be taken over. To go farther, “Bush, remembering the lessons of Vietnam, sought public support” (ushistory. org). He found the way of doing this by using the media to persuade the country with facts that werent entirely true.

    After this Desert Storm had officially started, the military along with other LIN countries took part in bombings that targeted places that the public was told were Iraqi overnment and military bases. A little longer than a month after that the US sent troops into Kuwait. One hundred hours later, the IJS forces declared Kuwait free of Iraqi force. This operation was, in a lot of ways, “a war made for TV’ (Holland). It was intense and dramatic, complete with missiles and local heroes. It came right to your house via satellite, ad was over before it became depressing or sad (Holland).

    President Bush was a straight forward Texan from the heart of America. “It seemed to him like war was a good way to get after it” (T. Clemens). What almost everyone watching was not aware of though, was the amount of restrictions that had been placed on the media. There were many restrictions were being put into effect at the start of the war. These restrictions did not allow media to get very close to the war. This resulted in inaccurate writings and broadcasts. It only allowed certain news groups to go with certain troops. Most of these troops were specialized and their rate of success was extremely high (Grossman).

    This type of action can simply be explained as “an extensive campaign by the White House and the Pentagon to nfluence public opinion by presenting Americans with carefully controlled images and information concerning the conflict and the issues surrounding the Bush administration’s decision” (Sharkley 152). The information that the American public was given was controlled and blanketed by the US government. A large myth that was told by the controlled media was that the new and advanced technology in bombs was going to save lives (Clark 127). The precision missiles that were shown all of the television and in newspapers only made up for 8. percent of the air war. The ther 91. 2 percent were falling from bomber airplanes. They were “falling from high altitudes and no more accurate than the bombs dropped in the World War II” (Clark 127). Casper Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, “insisted that it was ‘impossible’ that civilians were killed” (Clark 127). By the end of the war there were over 250,000 Iraqi dead and thousands from other nations. Most of these were civilian men, women, and children (Clark 126). Testimony from a former Pentagon advisor says that the Patriot missiles were not as effective as the Defense Department claimed.

    Out Of the 88,500 tons Of bombs, only 6520 ton were precision type and all of these total were equal to seven Hiroshima bombs (Clark 126-127). This makes it clear that it was not “impossible” that civilians were killed. The US government did all of this so that the public support is greatly increased. This would also help men continue to sign into the military and keep funding high. The White House had learned its lesson during the Vietnam war and knew that it needed the whole countrys positivity to be successful. Officials began researching on how to do this.

    They found a ocument about how Great Britain had strictly controlled media during a 1982 war against Argentina. In an article written for Naval publication it was summarized as control media access, censor upsetting information, and exclude critique journalists to protect their image (Sharkley 159-160). They have shown examples of this by making strict guidelines at the start of the war on controlled access to the war. They also censored information such as their definition ofa successful bombing. It is described as “a plane had taken off, released its ordinance in the area of the target, and returned to its base” Sharkley 156).

    It doesn’t say anything about where the bombs hit or how many casualties there were from the bombs. They even excluded journalists and all press during the arrival of troops killed in battle because last time they had the president look “callous” and created a topic for negative letters to be sent to the White House. These are examples of clear manipulations of information to create support for the war. The United States Government controlled and restricted the media during Desert Storm to cover up for the use of retaliatory bombs and to protect the overnments image.

    This was also done to create public support for the war, cover mistakes and deaths caused by the war, and to exaggerate the power of the LIS military. Even now there may be ways that the government is covering up their work that could be controversial. These issues “go far beyond the obvious need to balance military secrecy and requirements with the public’s right to know” (Sharkley).

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