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The Gulf War Did Not Take Place by Jean Buadrillard

U.S. Soldiers walk amidst burning oil fields

Jean Baudrillard is a recent influence; his secreted symposiums can be found on many a bush of my mind. He wrote three essays between January and March 1991 expounding his views on the Gulf War and simulation. It was the Video Game War, after all.

America was at the height of her power. The Japanese asset bubble just popped, triggering the Lost Years (Lost Score, what have you). The Singing Revolution was ringing in ears throughout Eastern Europe. The Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion were rescinded in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The next year Alien 3 was released. O, the early 1990s! There was nothing we could not do. We chose war because war was easy. We thought that war would allow for the supreme realization: the United States of America was beyond Rome years of true peace* were at hand. But this just turns into a sad song a ways down the wire. Americans dead in the far off lands of främlings. Was this war the last in which Americans will come home to adulation and decay (the root is rotten with disgorged warriors cascading into the misery of dark interstates intertwining in chill evenings on lost prairies imagined in drunken stupors) rather than just decay? Why are we fraying at the fringes?

The Gulf War: will not take place

"War has entered into a definitive crisis [...] Today it functions all the more effectively as self-deterrence, up to and including the self-deterrence of American power and of Western power in general, paralysed by its own strength and incapable of assuming it in the form of relations of force."

"By allowing him to believe that he had won the war against Iran, we drove him towards the mirage of a victory against the West this mercenary's revolt is indeed the only ironic and pleasing trait of this whole story."

"We prefer the exile of the virtual, of which television is the universal mirror, to the catastrophe of the real."

The Gulf War: is it really taking place?

"the professional and functional stupidity of those who pontificate in perpetual commentary on the event: all the Bouvards and Peuchets for hire."

"[...] make us experience the emptiness of television as never before."

"[E]veryone is amnestied by the ultra-rapid secession of phony events and phony discourses."

"Or perhaps, with everyone glued at home, TV plays out fully its role of social control by collective stupefaction: turning uselessly upon itself like a dervish, it affixes populations all the better for deceiving them, as with a bad detective novel which we cannot believe could be so pointless."

"Having assumed the Israeli style, the Americans will henceforth export it everywhere and, just like the Israelis did, lock themselves into the spiral of unconditional repression."

"Clean war, white war, programmed war[.]"

"Just as wealth is no longer measured by the ostenation of wealth but by the secret circulation of speculative captial, so war is not measured by being waged but by its speculative unfolding in an abstract, electronic and Informational space, the same space in which capital moves."

"But there is more than one kind of absurdity: that of the massacre and that of being caught up in the illusion of the massacre. It is just as in La Fontaine's fable: the day there is a real war you will not even be able to tell the differance. The real victory of the simulators of war is to have drawn everyone into this rotten simulation."

The Gulf War: did not take place

"In this forum of war which is the Gulf, eveything is hidden: the planes are hidden, the tanks are buried, Israel plays dead, the images are censored and all information is blockaded in the desert: only TV functions as a medium without a message, giving at last the image of pure television."

"We are all accomplices in these fantasmagoria (phantasmagoria), it must be said as, as we are in any publicity campaign."

two madman standing in a pool of oil with matches aflame is merely the peace of impending death

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