Propaganda and Its Uses By Countries, Especially During War

In order to gain the support of the public, countries use propaganda.
During the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein and George Bush used propaganda to gain the
support of their respective public. Propaganda was everywhere. It was on the
radio and television and it brought the war into millions of homes. Propaganda
was a vital part of the Gulf War because it provided the US and Iraq with the
support of their public. Propaganda is always geared towards the populace
claiming that the other country is the oppressor. The truth is often stretched
or even fabricated to garner a public outcry for justice. The real truth,
however, is very difficult to distinguish from fiction.
The blame is often pushed to towards the other country. Iraq claimed
that they were the victims and that the United States was the aggressor.
Hussein declared that they had been victimized by Kuwait. According to Iraq,
they had to pay back money that they did not have and Kuwait was responsible for
the cutback on healthcare and other vital services. Since Kuwait voted against
raising the price of oil, Iraq was unable to receive any revenue. It was
because of this that Iraq invaded Kuwait. The United States claimed that Iraq
was the aggressor. In the American media, Iraqi tanks were shown to enter a
defenseless Kuwait amidst destroyed buildings. The American public was
convinced that their troops were only there to protect and that Iraq was
harassing Kuwait. Iraq quickly retaliated with their own propaganda.
Hussein showed footage of the damage that the US had supposedly
inflicted on innocent people. Images of a bombed milk factory and a starving
child provided the Iraqi public with enough “evidence” to accuse the US of being
a ruthless military power. The main targets of propaganda were those that were
presumed most innocent: women and children. When women and children are killed,
it is not only hailed as a crime, but an atrocity against the country. The
United States also used women and children in their propaganda. A weeping woman
told the horrific tale of Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and
throwing them onto the cold floor. This graphic description surely left a
tremendous impact on the American citizens. The Iraqi\'s were portrayed as
monsters and the US public felt obligated to do fight against this cruel force.
The US military was now the protector and the hero of an entire nation. The
United States had the support of millions of people.
The atrocities of war were not the only form of propaganda used by both
Hussein and Bush. Hussein showed allied pilots that had been shot down and
proclaimed that the allies were not infallible. In fact, the military was weak
and could be defeated with the will of the Iraqi soldiers. One soldier was even
broadcasted throughout Iraq saying that he was sorry and that what his country
did was wrong. An admission of guilt was one of Hussein\'s greatest weapons.
The United States declared that the Iraqi soldiers were so poorly equipped they
did not even have shoes. The soldiers were seen as peasants so that the
American military seemed almost god-like in comparison; so powerful that they
would change the face of war forever.
Bush and Hussein also claimed that what their decisions to fight a war
would change the world for the better. Hussein claimed that he would form a Pan
Arab nation in which all of the Arab countries would unite to stop the
imperialistic US. This was a great plan because Arab countries had fought each
other before; peace and unification between brother and sister would surely be
an attractive image for the Iraqi public. Since the Arab countries are
predominantly Muslim, the image of Allah being on their side was another strong
image. The United States used patriotism as their driving force. Bush claimed
that what they were doing was the moral and right thing to do. Both leaders
used propaganda that would relate best to their public. Bush also claimed
change through the New World Order. If the United States were successful in
their efforts, the world would never have to worry about being “bullied” around
by another country because the US would be their paladin.
Propaganda is a vital part of war. With the support of the public, war
can continue. Both Bush and Hussein claimed that what they were doing was the
right decision. Iraq maintained that they were being harassed by both Kuwait
and the US and that their retaliation was purely because it was necessary.