Throughout the 60’s, television was becoming the major source of news for Americans as it grew from news briefs to half hour narratives on what was going on in the country and the world. The war in Vietnam in all its seriousness and death was brought into every family’s living room. The advent of the Cold War after WW2 with the Soviet Union, communism as the sworn enemy of American ideals, a ‘hot war’ in Korea and news stories of North Vietnamese gun boats attacking our Navy in the Gulf of Tonkin galvanized the public into a pro war stance ‘to stop communism’. However, over time, the gruesome scenes from the battlefield set the American public against continued involvement in Vietnam. “The continual combat footage from Vietnam is believed to have influenced public opinion of the war so negatively that continuing the intervention became impossible for the American government” (McClancy, 2013).
During the gulf war, we were given the play by play, move by move aspects of the conflict, but, unlike the war in Vietnam, the blood, guts and death that makes up the reality of war was censored out (Beattie, 1998). This, coupled with the overwhelming military superiority and mass surrender of Iraqi army units only served to get the public to acquiesce to later military adventures without considering the mortal cost of war. Propaganda stories of Iraqi soldiers killing babies in Kuwait in 1990-91 proved successful just as the WMD stories that were used as catalyst to invade that country yet again 12 years later.
McClancy, K. (2013). The Iconography of Violence: Television, Vietnam, and the Soldier Hero. Film and History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies. January, 2013. pg. 50. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=5012e69e-f741-4df5-9f0b-f47835537936%40sessionmgr4001&hid=4102
Beattie, K. (1998). Scar that Binds; American Culture and the Vietnam War. New York University Press. pg 11. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/lib/ashford/reader.action?docID=10032553&ppg=22
There can be a number of causes for the fires of nationalism to be kindled and ignited. Nationalism more often than not leads to war. Von Clauzewitz once said “war is the practice of politics by other