• Why the Dark Secrets of the First Gulf War Are Still Haunting Us

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    With
    rare exceptions, American politicians seem incapable of opposing
    an American war without befriending another in a different place
    or time.

    Barack Obama,
    an early and ardent enemy of the Iraq War, quickly declared his
    affinity for a war in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. And like so many
    Democratic leaders, he has commended Bush 41’s Gulf War over Bush
    43’s, for its justifiable cause, clear goals, quick execution and
    admirable leadership.

    It’s difficult
    to determine the proportion of expedience to ignorance that allows
    politicians and pundits to advance the theory of the good and trouble-free
    Gulf War. What’s clear, though, is that for close to 20 years, the
    42-day war, in which we dropped more bombs than were dropped in
    all wars combined in the history of the world, maintains a special
    place in American hearts.

    But as John
    R. MacArthur amply demonstrates in The
    Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War
    ,
    the real 1991 war was kept from the American public. This week,
    as we commemorate the 18th anniversary of the Gulf War’s end, and
    opportunities for new hostilities beckon, Americans, and our leaders,
    would do well to take a hard look at the war that we continue to
    love only because we never got to see it.

    Despite our
    inability to detect it at the time, U.S. prosecution of the 1991
    war with Iraq relied on all the now-familiar and discredited strategies
    used to promote the present war – with equally disastrous and far-reaching
    results.

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    February
    28, 2009

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