A secretive administration, aided and abetted by a press more interested in cheer leading than in journalism, persuaded the American people to support the Gulf War by media manipulation, censorship, and intimidation. Following are just some of the items the American public had a right to know about the censored Gulf War:
* $1.9 billion in U.S.-guaranteed loans to Iraq is lost and must be repaid by American taxpayers.
* U.S. tanks, artillery, and other weapons destroyed more than 30 American tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers.
* “Friendly fire” claimed the lives of 35 servicemen and injured another 72. The original figures were 11 deaths and 15 injuries.
* Pentagon planners have outlined a key U.S. military role in the restoration of Kuwait that may impose martial law for up to one year and makes no mention of democracy.
* Since September 1975, the U.S. ignored all signs of Iraqi nuclear development, including warnings from our own inspectors.
* U.S. tanks, equipped with plows, buried thousands of Iraqi soldiers alive in 70 miles of Iraqi trenches.
* U.S. Marines used Napalm bombs on Iraqi ground troops.
* Of the 88,500 tons of bombs dropped on Iraq and occupied Kuwait, 70% missed their targets.
* The Fuel-Air Bomb — which kills by sucking every particle of oxygen from the air with firebombs — was “experimented” with in the Persian Gulf. This weapon has been compared to nuclear weapons because of its massive destructive power and inhumanity.
* U.S. television networks refused to run available footage of the mass destruction from the ‘Turkey Shoot” on the road to Basra. They also refused to broadcast uncensored footage taken deep inside Iraq at the height of the U.S. led allied air war, documenting substantial civilian casualties.
* Reporters in the Gulf were routinely and openly censored and harassed by public affairs officers, including threats of pulling visas, being turned over to Saudi soldiers, and being held at gun point by U.S. soldiers. News copy and film were also routinely “lost” or misplaced until it was outdated.
* Many battlefield casualties were disguised as “training accidents.” A Dover Air Force Base mortuary secretary estimated “about 200” battlefield casualties. This account came from a freelance reporter who posed as a mortician to gain access to the Dover AFB mortuary, the only one handling Desert Storm casualties.
SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: PAULA GIEBITZ
SOURCE: EDITOR & PUBLISHER
11 West 19 Street, New York, NY 10011- 4234, DATE: 7/13/91
TITLE: “Military Obstacles Detailed”
SOURCE: THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN
520 Hampshire St., San Francisco, CA 94110-1417, DATE: 3/6/91
SOURCE: THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW 1739 Connecticut Ave., NW Washington, DC 20009
TITLE: “Inside the Desert Storm Mortuary” AUTHOR: Jonathan Franklin, DATE: March 1991
TITLE: “Collateral Damage, What We’ve Lost Already” AUTHOR: Sam Smith
COMMENTS: Debra Gersh, Washington editor of Editor & Publisher, who reported extensively on the media coverage of the Gulf War for the national newspaper trade magazine, said “The public has to understand that it only saw what it was allowed to see. The whole picture is important to understanding an event. That became clearer, I think, after the cease fire, when restrictions were lifted and news and photos about the reality of war came through.”
Jonathan Franklin, who posed as a mortician to get his story, said his article attempted to expose the systematic censorship throughout Desert Storm and Desert Shield. “As a dedicated reporter,” Franklin admitted, “undercover techniques are not a tactic I employ lightly. But war censorship demanded to be illuminated by truth: the ghastly moment of death captured in the face of the dead and dying. My story left only a small dent in the armor hiding the truth, but it was a dent in the foundation of lies, exaggerations and myths which keep this billion dollar a day dinosaur stuffed with money.”
Author Sam Smith said that the public needs to know that in exercises like the Gulf War there is no free lunch. “They also needed the courage to express their own doubts,” he added. “But without the knowledge to express their doubts, they were helpless and went along with the crowd.” Commenting on the media’s role as cheerleaders, Smith noted “I think it was a Civil War general who told his troops, ‘Don’t cheer boys. The poor devils are dying.’ If the media can’t ask the right questions at a time like this, the least it can do is not to cheer, which — for the most part — is what it did during those tragic months.”