Yep, still working away on the updated version of my book Making History: how to remember, record, interpret and share the events of your life, to now include the 1990s. The third of the 8 sections in Making History is War & the International Scene, about what happened outside America in the 90s, and which wars, here or elsewhere, made the news. Here’s a brief sneak preview of this section.
In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. In response, the UN began a global trade embargo against Iraq, and demanded that Iraq withdraw by January 1991. They didn’t. Operation Desert Storm began with US air strikes and Iraq’s response of sending Scud missiles into Israel. In February the Gulf War ended when Iraq withdrew its forces and set fire to the Kuwait oil fields. The Gulf War of 1991 was marked by public interest in the 24-hour news cycle introduced by CNN; the riveting and dangerous accounts of journalists trapped in Baghdad while being bombed made the war real to those at home.
Did you or anyone you knew or loved fight in the first Gulf War? If so, what were your experiences? Were you for or against the war? Do you remember Bernard Shaw reporting from Baghdad with the sounds of bombs in the background? Did you watch television or listen to the radio reports of this short war? Which journalist do you remember best – Peter Arnett, Christiane Amanpour, Bob Simon, Arthur Kent, Wolf Blitzer? Do you think the immediacy of their reporting contributed to the brevity of the Gulf War, in contrast to other wars, such as Vietnam? Do you agree with the journalists that full and open disclosure helped prevent the war from lasting longer, or did you agree with the military that television exposure would jeopardize strategy and increase opposition at home? What do you think the legacy of the first Gulf war is?
If you have a story (or stories) about the first Gulf War, please share them, and if you share them here on this blog, tell me if I can use them in my upcoming new edition of Making History. (I will credit you, of course.)