Infantile disorders within the new world order? : Review of The Political Psychology of the Gulf War edited by Stanley A. Renshon. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993.
Abstract The Gulf War would chart the future of the world for the next 100 years (George Bush, 1991, quoted in Renshon, p. 221). The Gulf crisis … was essentially an interArab event into which outsiders were drawn (Bernard Lewis, 1991, quoted by Brown, 1993, in Renshon, p. 17). The Persian Gulf War was a war like no other. With respect to media coverage, it was arguably the most sanitized, or distanced, war in modern times. Civilians of the coalition countries saw and heard little to suggest the horror of war. Instead, they were fed images of technological marvels—perfectly aimed ‘smart bombs’ flying down chimneys, or allied ‘Patriot’ missiles blasting SCUDS out of the sky. In many ways the television images seen by viewers in allied countries seemed more like a video-game war than a real war … As in wars past, the enemy was carefully crafted into a villain. In Hussein's case, he was portrated as the Hitler of the 1990s … The immediate aftermath of the war provided an intriguing example of group dynamics — For a window of time, people across the U.S. glorified war and, perhaps without realizing it, the killing of Iraqis — But one might question this form of social contagion or, what Brewster Smith called, ‘glowing self-congratulation’, whereby celebration took precedence over thinking about, and mourning for, those on both sides who lost their lives or who were seriously injured (Lehman, 1993, pp. 3–4). History demonstrates that it is a dangerous illusion to suppose that the destinies of continents and of the world community can somehow be managed from one single capital (Boris Yeltsin, New York Times , 6 December 1994, p. A4).
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