Monday, May 28, 2007

Desert Storm Revisited

On January 16th 1991 America began its assault on Iraq known as Desert Storm. At the time I was working for Space Systems Loral formerly Ford Aerospace in Palo Alto California where I was documenting and designing parts for satellites.

Though California is known as a “blue” state it has more than a fair share of conservatives and as I was to learn even the liberals and moderates could be war hawks as part of the “we are the good guys” phenomenon that saturates American perception. As I watched the coverage of Desert Storm one of the focuses of the news media was the emphasis given to surgical air strikes that were supposedly targeting military installations. Videos showing these precision missiles and bombs were aired regularly with a casualness of a Monday night football game.

On a personal level I was quite disgusted by this pornographic display of murder and destruction visited upon the people of Iraq. At work the vast majority of people seemed quite enthusiastic over the war. People were passing around cartoons of a vividly racist quality and terms like “rag heads” and “towel heads” were quite often heard.

During a conversation with a fellow worker I expressed my doubts about the validity of what we were doing and my friend told me that when you see a bully picking on a little guy wouldn’t you want to stop the fight? Oddly it never occurred to him that America was an elephant stepping on a mouse which in no way could defend itself. Later that week a woman came up to me and asked me “Don’t you think the people in Kuwait are nice?” I in turn asked her if she had ever heard of Kuwait before. Turns out she never had.

Back in the present as I read through various blogs occasionally I come across a liberal blog with pictures such as a U.S. military doctor holding an Iraq baby in his arms. This is quite touching I am sure though one should realize that the only reason that this is an orphaned or injured baby that is in need of medical attention is probably due to our being in Iraq in the first place. And of course there are the half million children who died as direct result of years of sanctions put in place against Iraq largely due to American influence. Madeline Albright when confronted with this plentitude of death famously replied “We think it is worth it.”

Today I came across this documentary made in 2001 which deals with how America first encouraged Saddam Hussein to attack Kuwait and then used said attack in order to indulge in our own attack on Iraq. This is a very good documentary on what the American government did before, during and after Desert Storm. It is only an hour long and I recommend it highly as a reminder of why we here in America are really not such good guys.

Watch it here.