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. The United States claimed otherwise. Visual representations of the death of innocent civilians were powerful means of garnering sympathy for both sides. Each of the armies claimed that they were the stronger one and that the other one could be easily defeated. Both Hussein and Bush claimed that they were fighting for the benefit of the people and to bring about a better world. Propaganda was a vital part of the Gulf War because it provided the US and Iraq with the support of their public. The public is given a very bias view of the war by the media. Whether the facts presented were true or a lie, the reality about war is simple: it is horrible, and excuses cannot mend what a bullet created.