The Gulf War Did Not Take Place


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THE GULF WAR WILL NOT TAKE PLACE BY JEAN BAUDRILLARD LECTURE ONE BY PROF. THOMAS MATHEW.

Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Paul Patton Translator. In a provocative analysis written during the unfolding drama of , Baudrillard draws on his concepts of simulation and the hyperreal to argue that the Gulf War did not take place but was a carefully scripted media event--a "virtual" war. Patton's introduction argues that Baudrillard, more than any other critic of the Gulf War, correctly identified the stakes involved in In a provocative analysis written during the unfolding drama of , Baudrillard draws on his concepts of simulation and the hyperreal to argue that the Gulf War did not take place but was a carefully scripted media event--a "virtual" war.

Patton's introduction argues that Baudrillard, more than any other critic of the Gulf War, correctly identified the stakes involved in the gestation of the New World Order. Get A Copy. Paperback , 96 pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Philosopher famous for questioning reality of first Gulf war

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Apr 11, Spoust1 rated it really liked it Shelves: media-studies. Baudrillard's argument is coldly ironic, never making use of a humanistic lexicon. This is intentional: his dry tone is accusatory. His tone forces us to confront the terrifying fact that an attitude of utter indifference to something such as "the Gulf War" is absolutely possible for those of us in the post-industrial, wealthiest sectors of the world. That is our isolation, our alienation. The scariest line in the book: "A simple calculation shows that, of the , American soldiers involved during the seven months of operations in the Gulf, three times as many would have died from road accidents alone had they stayed in civilian life.

Should we consider multiplying clean wars in order to reduce the murderous death toll of peacetime? Mar 19, Mayim de Vries rated it liked it. If only for the many semantic games with the concept of war, this politically outdated and sociologically anachronistic essay was fun to read. Oct 08, Sid Nuncius rated it it was ok. I thought this book was largely but not quite entirely provocative nonsense. There is some decent sociological analysis in it, but there is also a very large amount of utter drivel.

In spite of the title, Baudrillard accepts that military events took place in the Gulf and that people suffered and died during them, but he maintains that what took place was not a war, and the version of events we saw on TV and in other media was not what really happened. Plainly, the title is intended to attract I thought this book was largely but not quite entirely provocative nonsense. Plainly, the title is intended to attract attention and it's a clever reference to Jean Giraudoux's play , but Baudrillard simply fails to make any sort of case to support it.

He argues that the war we were presented with on TV and through government propaganda isn't the same as the war as it happened. This is true, but hardly profound or original; "In war, truth is the first casualty" has been attributed to Aeschylus two and a half millennia ago, and although he gives some modern analysis of this, Baudrillard doesn't get far beyond it. The real trouble begins when Baudrillard attempts to describe "reality," because in using the word "reality" to mean "one person's subjective truth" postmodernists like Baudrillard muddle the distinction between fact and interpretation, and sometimes use the muddle dishonestly.

For example, Baudrillard laments the lack of a declaration of war, then says "Since it never began, this war is therefore interminable".


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Now, if he'd said "The lack of a clearly defined declaration makes a clearly defined end very difficult, and the successors to Saddam's regime will have to deal with insurgents for a very long time" he'd have made a good point and been proved right by recent events. But he doesn't do anything of the sort. He claims that the war never began, which is simply not the case. This is simply denying facts, not commenting on perceptions of them.

And to use the phrase " It certainly won't go on for ever, which is a very long time indeed. In another example, he asserts that we TV watchers were submitted to "the same violence" as Saddam's prisoners, tortured into "repenting" in public.

something GOOD.

I accept a parallel in the distortions of the truth by the two sides, but to maintain that I, as a TV watcher at home, was somehow subjected to "the same violence" as some of Saddam's most brutally abused victims is an obscene thing to say. He's not writing poetry or a novel here. The aim is to give clear insights into an analysis of what is really happening. The words "the same" have a specific meaning here, and it is facts, not interpretation, which are being denied.

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Let me repeat, some of his poitical and sociological stuff is actually rather interesting. For example: "One of the two adversaries is a rug salesman, the other an arms salesman: they have neither the same logic nor the same strategy, even though they are both crooks. There is not enough communication between them to make war upon each other. Saddam will never fight, while the Americans will fight against a fictive double on a screen. Moreover, rather than the 'revolution' of real time of which Virilio speaks, we should speak of an involution in real time; of an involution of the event in the instanteneity of everything at once, and of its vanishing in information itself.

If we take note of the speed of light and the temporal short-circuit of pure war the nanosecond , we see that this involution precipitates us precisely into the virtuality of war and not into its reality, it precipitates us into the absence of war. Must we denounce the speed of light? If he's saying that the video footage isn't the real war, fair enough.

It isn't, as Magritte cleverly pointed out. But " the temporal short circuit of pure war the nanosecond "? I'm very sorry, but three words, the first and last of which are "oh" and "off" come inexorably to mind. And as for "Must we denounce the speed of light? I genuinely cannot remember ever having had to read such abject tosh, and I have studied psychology in my time so it's up against some pretty stiff competition. I'm sorry this is so long. I feel better now, anyway.

I've given this two stars because there's the odd interesting idea, but overall I'd recommend giving it a wide berth and reading something - almost anything - else instead. Jun 13, Adam rated it it was amazing. Thought provoking examination about what war is designed to accomplish in the post-Cold War world. Those who have no patience for letting an argument develop might have a knee jerk reaction against this book, so let me give you a reason why you ought to keep an open mind.


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  4. What Baudrillard means when he says that "the Gulf War did not take place" isn't to imply that people didn't die, acts of courage did not happen or that the war didn't do any good. What he means is that whatever objective the w Thought provoking examination about what war is designed to accomplish in the post-Cold War world. What he means is that whatever objective the war had and whatever sacrifices were made were overshadowed by the spectacle of war.

    In an age where we are increasingly divorced from reality, due in large part to technology, the spectacle of war can overshadow the actual war. This is what happened in the Gulf War, and it has become the holotype for war in an age where there are no more great wars. Sep 22, Michael Palkowski rated it it was ok. What is vitally important to understand regarding Baudrillard's thesis was that it wasn't a literal denial of the war. Instead the media presented images of the war which told a very specific narrative of the events unfolding, it simulated a reality which didn't take place on the battlefield and censored the images of the actual reality which was unfolding which was the bloodshed, despair and suffering.

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