Technically speaking, a lot had changed between Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War. From the Pentagon perspective, during Operation Desert Storm, almost nothing was more ominous than the prospect of real-time, unedited, uncensored reporting from the front, instantaneously beamed into homes all across the globe. This scenario had to be avoided at all costs, hence the deployment of some of the most restrictive wartime reporting policies ever enacted. The first part of this chapter explores the tension that resulted between the Pentagon's denial and the press' subsequent anxiety over their inability to reproduce the sights, sounds, horror and trauma of war.

The next section looks at one of the things that was so remarkable (though not particularly surprising) about the Gulf War coverage given the initially caustic criticism of the U.S. government's restrictive policies regarding access to wartime news: the almost uniformly supportive stance of the reporting that resulted. The technologically enabled nightmare scenario envisioned by the Pentagon quickly became moot as the press' potential for subverting the Official narrative was rapidly replaced by a kind of technocratic hegemony, where Pentagon power resided within the technofetishized imag(in)ings to which they were granting access.

The third section explores how the absence of actual combat footage created a situation where the only readily available information about the battlefront was information ingeniously manufactured on the homefront, via computer aided desktop publishing systems, and how this turn of affairs played into the perceptual encoding and decoding of the war as a kind of simulated, staged, event. The chapter ends by comparing coverage of Desert Storm to coverage of Vietnam in effort to further explore certain presuppositions perpetuated by journalists about the nature and role of the press during wartime, how those roles changed in the context of the Gulf, and how the response to those changes reflected and reproduced a certain anxiety about the press' inability to show the public that side of war so frequently conflated with what it's really all about--visual depictions of bloodied bodies.


There's nothing like good press to help with a war effort, and there's nothing like bad press to hinder it. In Operation Desert Storm, the military public relations people were aware of this from before the beginning, thanks in large part to lessons that were learned in Vietnam, or so the argument goes (Fialka 1991; MacArthur 1992). The Pentagon clampdown on news coming out of the Gulf had a tremendous impact on the content and character of the reporting that the general population was allowed to see. The reason the Gulf War was branded "unreal" by so many reporters writing about it had less to do with its being an electronically generated event that was getting beamed insubstantially across a network (Sobchack's 1993), and more to do with the belief that what the Pentagon allowed us to see was not what we ought to be seeing. Thus much of the press and academic response was less grounded in theoretical concerns about technological mediation than it was grounded in quasi-empiricist beliefs that we easily could have known more, but were not being granted access to the "real."

War is big news. Reporters' livelihoods depend on big news stories. For the press to be thwarted in its ability to document and disseminate the latest-breaking news from one of the most momentous events in recent history was a problem that caused considerable concern. The media had invested millions of dollars in preparation for the moment--laptop computers, satellite telephones, shortwave radios, fax machines, infrared cameras, and a variety of other electronic paraphernalia designed for nearly instantaneous news from the desert (Fialka 1991:4). Needless to say, the prospect of not being able to use all the new gadgetry that promised to revolutionize live-action reporting was not very appealing. War journalism has a glorious past. Careers have been made by enterprising journalists being in the right place at the right time, saying and showing the right thing. But the Pentagon didn't much care about reporters' careers, their main concern, aside from winning the war, was total control over what the public would get to see of the conflict, control that was in large part ensured through an extensive catalog of rules established to govern reporters' access to the battlefront.

The war in the Gulf was certainly not the first to experience government censorship. War Department files from the Civil War actually provide the earliest documented evidence of military control being exerted over war reporting. This new-found "need" was the direct result of the recent invention of the telegraph, and the opening of the first telegraph line in 1844 by Samuel F. B. Morse. With the ability to almost instantaneously transmit battle news from far away places the War Department feared that the strategists planning and fighting the Civil War would face problems somewhat analogous to those posed by satellite television technologies in the Gulf: too much news, too fast. Another interesting, and little known act of government censorship occurred in WWII. As Edward R. Murrow delivered his famous radio broadcasts from the rooftops of London, a British official stood next to him and tapped him on the wrist when it was feared he was about to divulge sensitive information. And in fact, in 1943 American newspapers and magazines were prohibited from publishing any photographs of dead U.S. soldiers (Bianculli 1992:204-13). In many ways it was the press' relatively open access to the warzone and the lack of control exerted by the U.S. government during Vietnam that was the aberration, not the almost total control of information that defined the Desert Storm experience.

Reporters were outraged when Pentagon officials decided that the military had right of approval over all words and images coming out of the Gulf, and that the only access to news from the battlefront would be mediated through officially guided "press pools." Such decisions even brought old war-horses like Walter Cronkite out of the woodwork to editorially chastise the Pentagon's position, asserting that: "The military ... has the responsibility of giving all the information it possibly can to the press and the press has every right, to the point of insolence, to demand this" (Newsweek February 25, 1991:43).

From the entrepreneurial reporter's perspective a big part of the problem was that pool information must by definition be shared, making enterprise reporting impossible. An even bigger problem had to do with the almost total restriction of mobility, and the fact that Pentagon officials had the right to veto any reports deemed counterproductive to the war effort. According to Newsweek over 700 press people were registered with the U.S. military's Joint Information Bureau in Dhahran, yet no more than about a hundred could get anywhere near the action at any given time. Those hundred or so were then divided into a dozen small groups where they were completely at the mercy of the Pentagon officials (February 11, 1991:36). The pools could only go where assigned, under strict supervision of military escort officers who had the authority, through an instant "security review," to stop interviews or photography at any point they felt that the Desert Storm ground rules governing various types of off limits information (i.e., effectiveness of enemy camouflage, intelligence collection or security measures, details of major battle damage or personnel losses, etc.) were in danger of being violated (Time January 14, 1991:17; Time January 21, 1991:41; U.S. News and World Report February 4, 1991:49).

One of the most notable outcomes of the Pentagon's restrictive policies was the way they shifted the focus from reports of war to reports of war reporting. Because journalists were denied access to the "real" action of war, the only dangers and difficulties they could describe were their own. The news coming out of the Middle East had far more to say about the trials and the tribulations of the press--the tension and exclusion they encountered, the heroic effort exerted on their part to thwart that exclusion, and the uses of new technologies to broadcast reports from the front--than it did about the trials and the tribulations of the people killing and being killed. The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour devoted most of two entire shows to military censorship and the role of reporting, Donahue held a two-part roundtable with media correspondents to address the same issue, Nightline moderated a similar debate (Bianculli 1992:229), and so it went on ... and on. Additional evidence of the press' naval gazing is illustrated by some of the headlines of the nation's most prominent newsmagazines:

Will We See the Real War? Pentagon rules would restrict press coverage (Newsweek January 14, 1991:19).

Fencing in the Messengers: The U.S. Press and the Pentagon square off over unprecedented limits on news coverage of a potential Gulf battlefield (Time January 14, 1991:17).

Volleys on the Information Front: Frustrated by pools, censorship and tight-lipped military officials, the media fight for more--and more detailed--news from the battlefield (Time February 4, 1991:45).

Showdown at 'Fact Gap': Can the press make the military loosen up? (Newsweek February 4, 1991:61).

Trying to Get the Story Is a Story of Its Own (Newsweek February 11, 1991:36).

What Is There to Hide?: Military arrogance keeps public in the dark (Newsweek February 25, 1991:43).

Jumping Out of the Pool: A growing number of reporters are circumventing military restrictions in hopes of getting a better picture of the war (Time February 18, 1991:39).

Live from the Middle East! CNN scores a reporting coup as TV dramatically captures the first major war in the era of instant worldwide communication (Time January 28, 1991:69-71).

The Very Nervy Win of CNN: A network that links the global village shows how to cover a war (U.S. News & World Report January 28, 1991:44).

How CNN Phoned Home (Time January 28, 1991:71).

Most reporters struggling to gather news in the Gulf were frustrated and resentful not because there was no information coming out of the warzone--there was plenty--but because: "Despite the deluge of words and pictures, analysis and speculation, pouring forth on TV and in print, the supply of reliable, objective information about the war's progress has been scant" (Time February 4, 1991:44, emphasis mine). The Wall Street Journal's John Fialka, describing the difficulties associated with reporting under severe governmental restraints, put it this way: "We encountered multiple layers of control, at least one of which always seemed to be there. Barriers seemed to raise automatically to blur the reality; buffers were always at the ready to blunt the sharp edges of truth" (1991:56).

These little passages make some rather large assumptions, emblematic of so much of the Gulf reporting. For starters, they assume that had the press been given free-reign in the desert they would have been capable of providing unbiased accounts of the war. But as so many media scholars have gone to great lengths to show, just as reception is dependent upon an infinite number of uncontrollable factors, so are production and dissemination--what to report, when to report it, how to report it, from whose point of view, and so on (see Molotch and Lester 1974; Tuchman 1978; Fishman 1980; Hartley 1982 for example ). The problem was that what members of the press and the academy have traditionally taken to count as "news" was simply not available in the context of the Gulf War coverage.

The mythical notion of "news" is that it will give the audience unprejudiced, candid and impartial information that provides broader conceptual understandings of the phenomenon being explored. In this instance that meant an ability to re-tell a certain story of war that played into well established generic conventions about the kinds of information that are considered legitimate contributors to preconceived notions of what war is and what it should be, and the types of responses reporting of it should evoke. For most critics, however, no matter how many images and accounts of war we were exposed to, as long as those images and accounts were placed within a foreign context, and drew upon aesthetic sensibilities that spoke to undesirable moral and political agendas, they could not get coded as "real" war coverage.


The press was emasculated in the Persian Gulf. They were robbed of their primary purpose and the primary source of their power by forces beyond their control. With all their new-found technical potential to produce and disseminate instantaneous information, they still could not go where they wanted to go, see what they wanted to see, write what they wanted to write, or convey what they wanted to convey to their audience back home. They had lost the ground gained during the latter days of Vietnam. The frustration that members of the press felt from this lack of control was initially made loud and clear in report after report, for there was little else to talk about. They had been withdrawn from the primal scene of the war. The press, a language producing machine, no longer had control over the content or the form of the language they produced.

Vietnam, on the other hand, was largely about access to a certain kind of language, a language presumed free of officially mandated constraints. It had been a highly textualized war. The Gulf War, in those terms, was undertextualized. It was about an accepted silence, the national obligation not to protest, to make amends, to atone for the sins of exposing too much of Vietnam. Nowhere was this more clear than with the yellow ribbons tied around trees, homes, and offices all across the country, signifiers stating paradoxically "I may not be for war," or, "I may not be against war," but "I support our troops." Laura Marks explains what she saw as Americans' willingness to forswear cynicism and embrace a "deliberately foggy feeling of national unity"--embedded in the ribbon worship--as the direct result of news efforts to rally support for the war by creating a feeling of "family" that clouded over political issues. Was it even useful to talk of censorship when trying to find an oppositional voice became increasingly difficult, and if found, only made one increasingly marginalized, a dishonored and disowned "family" outcast?[1] The "I support our troops" slogan can be read on a lot of different levels. On one level it allowed people to identify with the militarist and nationalist project that was the outgrowth of U.S. actions in the Middle East. On another, it allowed many more to identify with the unfortunate and undesirable predicament of the soldiers stationed throughout the Gulf region, but through that identification, reproduce and support the very institutional structures and situations that caused the soldiers to be there in the first place.

One of the most remarkable, though rather predictable, outcomes of the Gulf War, considering all the trenchant criticism of the Pentagon's control over the press, was the pro-U.S. tone the vast majority of the reporting quickly took. The government probably would not have received more favorable press had they paid for it. One of the more obvious reasons for this has to do with the policing procedures internal to the news organizations themselves. It should be no surprise that many of the owners of the major news outlets also have interests in major defense contracting corporations like General Electric (which bought NBC and RCA in 1986)[2], CapCities (which is linked up with ABC and CBS), AT&T (major contributors to PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour), Time Warner (whose board of directors includes representatives from General Dynamics, IBM, Mobil Oil, Atlantic Richfield), and many others whom also sit on the Council of Foreign Relations.[3]

If one presumes that ownership of the means of production leads to some form of control over the content and character of the goods produced, as many media scholars do (Bagdikian 1983, 1990; Lee and Solomon 1990, etc.) then it is not hard to understand why journalists seen as going out of their way to buck the status-quo were easily discouraged. For example, when NBC reporter (of twelve years) Jon Alpert returned from Iraq with videotape footage of Basra and other areas of Iraq devastated by U.S. bombing, "NBC president Michael Gartner not only ordered that the footage not be aired, but forbade Alpert from working for the network in the future" (Extra! May 1991:15). Similarly, reporter Warren Hinkle of the San Francisco Examiner was put on a three-month "vacation" soon after the war began: "publisher William Randolph Hearst III suddenly announced the sabbatical after spiking a Hinkle column, "If Saddam Is Hitler, Then Bush Is Tojo." And Jim Bleiknap, a talkshow host at WTVN in Columbus, Ohio, decided to resign in protest after being suspended for "reminding an Ohio Congressmember that he had been ducking interviews about why he had switched from pro-sanctions to pro-war" (Extra! May 1991:15).

But it wasn't just the fear of losing a job and the external pressure to generate favorable or non-threatening coverage that led to the wealth of "rah-rah" reporting. The press was remarkably sympathetic to the Pentagon's position. Both the reliance of journalists on routine, official, and more often than not government, sources of information, and the power of these sources to define "what's news" are well-documented (see Sigal 1973; Tuchman 1978; Gans 1979; Gitlin 1980; Bagdikian 1983; Karp 1989). It is also well-documented that reporters customarily form strong bonds with the sources with whom they are associated and on whom they depend for stories, and that over time the reporter on the beat gradually absorbs the perspectives of the sources s/he is covering (see Sigal 1973; Tuchman 1978; Fishman 1980; Gitlin 1980).

That many of these reporters were working within an organizational and bureaucratic "beat" structure that had been largely shaped by corporate concerns sympathetic to the war effort, concerns which to some degree influenced the reporter's own internalized values and beliefs, probably played a big part in generating coverage that reflected these sympathies; the press pools were simply a more rigidly defined extension of this structure. One reporter from Newsweek illustrated his "status-quo sympathies" in the following way: "Obviously there are some legitimate concerns about the role of the news media during combat. If Vietnam was the first TV war, this could be the first live one, thanks to satellite technology. Live means no editing, a careless kind of journalism. And the presence of global networks like CNN is dicey in wartime" (January 14, 1991:19). Or as Peter Jennings, in a strategic move displaying his aversion to biting the hand that feeds him, explained to a roomful of youngsters in an ABC special on the war entitled "War in the Gulf--Answering Children's Questions":

What we do have in times of war between reporters and the public are things called censors. When Dean Reynolds was doing his broadcast from Tel Aviv last night, there was a military censor from the Israeli army in the office with him who told him there were certain things he could say and there were certain things he couldn't say. And in Saudi Arabia, with all the American reporters and reporters from around the world, there are military censors, because even while it is the natural instinct of a reporter to find out what is going on ... there are military censors set up so that this kind of delicate information ... is not disseminated and thus the enemy can't hear it (MacArthur 1992:78-111).

Even more striking than the externally and internally imposed censorship that was going on was the public perception that the press was still far too liberal and sympathetic to the Iraqi point of view, and the outrage directed toward the media as a result of that perception. Media bashing became a prominent theme during the war and, rather ironically, was most prevalent during the moments when rules governing war coverage were most restrictive. CNN suffered the brunt of the popular resentment: "More than 55,000 letters, phone calls and faxes have poured into CNN's Atlanta headquarters since the start of the war, about 60% of them negative." (Time February 25, 1991:52-55). Similarly, letters to the Los Angeles Times were also overwhelmingly critical of the press, while at the same time readers seemed quite content with the news they were getting, illustrating rather convincingly the dramatic success of the Pentagon's PR campaign: "In a Times Mirror survey conducted at the end of January, nearly 80% of the adults in the poll rated press coverage of the war as good or excellent... Fully 78% said they were satisfied that the military is not hiding bad news, and 57% said the Pentagon should exert more control over reporting of the war" (Time February 25, 1991:52-55). When asked: "Do you think censorship is wrong or do you think it is necessary under the circumstances?" A mere 9% said "wrong," while 88% said "necessary"; and when asked: "Do you think you are getting enough information about the war?" only 19% said that they were not (Time February 4, 1991:45).

How might this scenario have changed had the pace of war been different? To what degree was the press', and presumably by extension the public's, towing of the party-line, and the Pentagon's ability to define the parameters of the coverage, the result of the speed at which the war unfolded? It wasn't too long after the war that little unsavory (from the Pentagon's point of view) blips on the horizon became more apparent, though still primarily relegated to back pages and small spaces, and the dominant party-line began to unravel: Patriot hit to miss ratios going from 90+ to less than 10 percent (in fact Israeli defense official Moshe Arens and General Dom Shomron say the Patriot at best knocked out a single SCUD over Israel and at worst none) and Schwarzkopf's "sterling" performance actually looking a bit more tarnished (Newsweek November 29, 1993:7). But such stories have had little, if any, impact on the politicization or collective memory of the body politic.

In terms of the tone of the coverage, the Gulf War probably would have begun looking a lot more like Vietnam had the length of their onslaughts been more comparable. But of course this wasn't the case. What we got instead was shot after technofetishized shot of a strategically calculated, managed, and efficiently executed campaign--fodder for a lasting impression. The body of the enemy had been successfully kept in the periphery, in fact it was placed entirely outside of the periphery and into a whole new zone, a technocratically controlled zone that was difficult to think or talk about productively because it was so strategically absent from any kind of site/sight. Baudrillard summed up what many were feeling quite well when he asserted that a war without victims doesn't seem a real war (1991c). And that was the overarching, though somewhat misleading, story of the war in the Gulf.


Though footage of enemy bodies may have been scant, the recent development, availability and potential of desktop computer graphics technologies for displaying war gave news agencies renewed hope, or at least a way of doing "craft." With no "real" news-reel footage of war to turn to, broadcast media were forced to creatively recreate imaginary battle scenarios. It was a desktop publishing coup. We were bombarded by graphics of bombardment, and it was visually stunning, shot after shot after shot. Restrictive Pentagon policies helped create a situation where if there was going to be any visual representation of what was unfolding in the Gulf it was going to come from graphics departments working for and with the major news organizations back in the United States: "Maps, battlefield models, and informational graphics on weapons systems helped anchors and experts explain the war... Never before had carefully designed electronic imagery so dominated the coverage of a conflict" (MacArthur 1992:80).

The graphic design industry blossomed thanks to Pentagon censorship. Not only were designers working overtime to keep up with the networks' demand for maps, logos, simulated battlefields, weapons highlights and the like, they were working like mad to outdo their competition. So successful was this newly spawned industry that the annual awards ceremony of the Broadcast Designers' Association (BDA) and its sister organization, the Broadcast Promotion and Marketing Executives (BPME) held in Baltimore in 1991 devoted an entire session to the subject of designing war, where "in keeping with the upbeat atmosphere following the Gulf War, the convention brochure had billed the panel discussion in a humorous vein: 'The Schwarzkopfs of the nets and cable show how their strategic command centers of technological design warfare operated during the Gulf War crisis'" (MacArthur 1992:78).

Of course graphic representations of war have long been part of the overall coverage, from the World Wars through Korea to Vietnam. The difference with the war in the Persian Gulf, and this is an important difference, was that the graphic images were not the bloody kind, but the digitally sanitized kind, and these became the dominant mode of representation. According to Steve Cheney, a supervisor at the Associated Press' (AP) television graphics service, because good photographs were unavailable "... it became acceptable for graphics to tell most of the story (along with Pentagon videotapes) on the evening news" (MacArthur 1992:82).

For both reporters covering the war, and academics commenting on the reporters' coverage of it, this Pentagon-prodded and technologically driven move toward computer generated battle replications epitomized what came to be seen as the simulated nature of the Gulf War experience. As Ralph Famiglietta, director of news graphics for NBC put it: "People didn't know what was happening ... it was a little too Top Gun-y... I was concerned about my children and the way it made war look fun" (MacArthur 1992:81). Of course this concern was not great enough to compel him or many others to do much about it. For many like-minded critics, the issue was not only the way these graphic representations created a simulated or unreal experience of the war, but the playful and frivolous character of the simulated experience they created.

There was an unfortunate tendency to equate the mere existence of a technology, in this case computer-aided imaging hardware and software, with initiating our movement along the trajectory of ever increasing mediation, toward hyper- or unreality, toward machines and their products running interference in human experiential awareness. Yes, the products of cybernetic systems mediated our experience of the warzone. But if technologies are, as McLuhan put it quite some time ago, extensions of the human body and nervous system (1968:188-189), then we might reframe the Allied experience in the Gulf, not as a mediational separation, but a difference in extensionally mediated form. Once done, what we then ought to do is look at cybernetic reproductions, not as a projection of some inorganic machinic artifact, but, rather, as projections of our collective fantasies and desires being played out on foreign bodies.


Most critics of the Pentagon's policies seemed to feel that the government's increased control over access to news was in direct response to the popularly held belief that the Vietnam war was lost in the headlines and not on the battlefield (Fialka 1991; Kellner 1992; MacArthur 1992, etc.). This belief was primarily spawned by a vocal group of writers asserting that public support for the war dwindled as the war progressed due to potent depictions of its violence and horror displayed primarily through the medium of television (conveniently forgetting this was the very same medium used early on to provide a tremendous amount of support for U.S. involvement). The counterproductive role (in relation to U.S. military goals) of the news media was a favorite theme of conservative writers in the aftermath of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam and, as one writer for the Guardian put it, the primary question became how to prevent such a thing from happening again. It was taken for granted that news reporting had severely undercut the U.S. military effort. This belief quickly filtered into key circles in Washington, where "the need for restrictions on wartime reporting became the new conventional wisdom of the Washington establishment" (Guardian February 27, 1991:1-2).

Both heads of state wasted no time in latching on to this conventional wisdom during the Persian Gulf War. As Newsweek was quick to point out: "Saddam Hussein and George Bush agree on one thing: the voracious American media will use human-interest stories to prey on the sensibilities of the American people, who are extremely sensitive to casualties" (February 11, 1991:38), a sensitivity that was carefully attended to by U.S. military officials like General Colin Powell who, when asked about Iraqi casualties, responded: "It's not really a number I'm terribly interested in" (New York Times, March 23, 1991). Certain media producers expressed similar anxieties about disturbing the American public with troubling images of war. For example, Judi Decker, Broadcast Designers' Association president, and graphics director of KCRA-TV in Sacramento, stated that: "The audience is inviting you into their living room, so what we do has to be in good taste and get the message across simply... One needed to keep in mind ... [that] there are people at the table, eating" (MacArthur 1992:81).

The Bush administration was determined to present as sterile (and White-washed) a war as possible and had composed its censorship rules around obstructing access to stories portraying disconcerting subject matter, and it proved a pretty successful strategy. Implicit in all the media's initial discussion about free and open access to information and the public's right to know was the deep-seated anxiety that one of the biggest stories of the decade would be rendered invisible, and worse yet, uninteresting. Clearly this didn't happen; we just experienced a hyper(in)visibility and (dis)interest of a different sort. So what was missing? The gory stuff. The horrible stuff. The "real" stuff of war. The blood and guts. Donald Mell, a photo editor for the Associated Press responsible for reviewing many thousands of pictures taken by over 40 photographers in the Gulf region, stated what was on a lot of other people's minds when he wrote: "It was what we didn't get that bother's me ... There were no dead Iraqi soldiers" (Fialka 1991:5).

Beyond what could be read as a kind of sadistic or morbid fascination with human pain and suffering was the presupposition that gaining access to the front would somehow provide a clearer, less controlled and less biased picture of the war because we would be getting a side of the story that the government could not totally determine. Of course this presupposition remained largely untested. Obviously blood and guts is a reality of war, but it is only one of many realities of war. So why was journalists' inability to represent this particular aspect of the war so problematic? A simple answer is that, from the networks' standpoint, blood and guts makes good news, good news gets watched, shows that get watched have high ratings, high ratings attract sponsors, sponsors have money, and money allows the industry to survive. But from the military's standpoint, the fact that graphic depictions of blood and guts had the potential to attract a big audience, and perhaps sway their opinion in uncontrollable directions, was precisely the problem. The assumption was that although lots of people would want to watch the horror and the violence they would not like what they saw and, hence, would no longer support the war effort--even when the pain was inflicted upon "deserving" foreign bodies.

The end result of all this, of course, was the continual replay of a kind of storytelling about war that, from many critics points of view, just never quite seemed like the right kind of story. What war was, was not what war was supposed to be. Perhaps an even more striking absence in the discussion implicitly and explicitly redefining what war should look like was a critical rethinking and reframing of what it is that counts as legitimate reproductions of war. The bloodied body of the soldier is only a beginning, as is its fetishized disappearance, marked by cross-hairs aligned again and again in desert(ed) landscapes. We could as readily, with a little conceptual retooling, think about a wide array of other activities outside of the declared Operations involving battle, defined enemy targets, political problems and goals to be secured, as legitimate reproductions of war--economic inequality and the socially structured means for achieving it through capitalism, lost opportunities and the deadening of the spirit, just to name a couple. Of course, these reproductions of war are even harder to imag(in)e.


1. For example, think back to the Seton Hall basketball player, a foreign citizen, forced to leave the country (due to threats on his and his families lives) when he refused to wear an American flag on his uniform during games.

2. Bagdikian, Ben. 1991. "The Endless Chain." (Excerpted from The Media Monopoly, by Ben Bagdikian. 1990. 3rd edition.). Pp. 4-10 in The Persian Gulf War: The Media and Our Right to Know. Oakland: Datacenter.

3. Lee, Martin A., and Norman Solomon. 1990. "Military-Industrial-Media Complex: The Case of General Electric and NBC" and "PBS: Pro-Business Service." Selections from Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media. In The Persian Gulf War: The Media and Our Right to Know. 1991:11-15. Oakland: Datacenter.