----------------------------------------------------------Ordering the New World: Violence and its Re/Presentation in the Gulf War and Beyond Simon Chesterman Magdalen College--Oxford University © 1998 Simon Chesterman. All rights reserved. ----------------------------------------------------------Overture: The Gulf War Did Not Take Place Since this war was won in advance, we will never know what it would have been like had it existed. We will never know what an Iraqi taking part with a chance of fighting would have been like. We will never know what an American taking part with a chance of being beaten would have been like. We have seen what an ultra-modern process of electrocution is like, a process of paralysis or lobotomy of an experimental enemy away from the field of battle with no possibility of reaction. But this is not a war, any more than 10,000 tons of bombs per day is sufficient to make it a war. Any more than the direct transmission by CNN of real time information is sufficient to authenticate a war. --Baudrillard (The Gulf War 61) 1. Less than two weeks before the American and British air attack on Baghdad and Iraqi positions in Kuwait in January 1991, Jean Baudrillard published an article in Libération entitled "The Gulf War Will Not Take Place" in which he wrote that this war would never happen.[1] 2. Baudrillard argued that war as a deterrent in the traditional sense had been internalised by the Western powers, producing a form of self-deterrence that left them incapable of realising their own power through the expressive medium of force. The unreal build-up, the asymptotic prelude that would allow a brush with war but no encounter, was symptomatic of hostilities in which it is the virtual that functions to deter the real event. In such War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. --Nineteen Eighty-Four

Be it thy course to busy giddy minds With foreign quarrels. --Henry IV, Part 2

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a régime, all that is left is the simulacrum[2] of war: We are no longer in a logic of the passage from virtual to actual but in a hyperrealist logic of the deterrence of the real by the virtual. (27) 3. With the passage of war into the virtual, the potentiality of the Gulf War was said to exist ultimately as a figment of mass-media simulation, war-games rhetoric, or imaginary scenarios. In no "real" sense could these virtual preparations manifest in war. Like the political leaders, military personnel knew not what to make of their function of death and destruction: "They are pledged to the decoy of war as the others are to the decoy of power" (The Gulf War 28). Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.

4. Surely, as diverse critics pointed out, Baudrillard was directly contradicted --Samuel by the facts.[3] Surely the massive Johnson aerial bombardment of Iraqi military and civil infrastructure, the ensuing air and land assault, the "turkey shoot" (Freedman and Karsh 402-03)[4] of the retreating troops on the road to Basra which left in the order of 100,000 Iraqi casualties demonstrated that there had, in fact, been a war. Surely Baudrillard could not have been more wrong. 5. This paper takes Baudrillard's discussion of the Gulf War qua non-event as the departure point for a consideration of the presentation and representation of violence in the post-Cold War era. I argue that although the deployment of violence has been transformed, as Baudrillard argues, this (re)formation is meaningless absent a conception of the space violence occupies in the hypothesis of international order. In this way, my interrogation of the face of violence merges into a critique of violence as such--a dynamic whose relationship to order is at once antagonistic and symbiotic. 6. This critique has implications for the analysis of international relations, but may also open up a more productive engagement between international relations and international law. In distinct ways, each discourse holds statism as axiomatic--as the unitary locus of power and legitimacy respectively. A critique of violence may provoke a doctrinal reassessment of the a priori equation of order and law The surgical strikes against Iraq engendered a running sore which, though contained, continues to be picked at by a Western coalition resentful of Saddam's failure to "play ball." The sterilised images of video war in the Gulf were succeeded by the orgiastic fury of Bosnia and its eroticisation of atrocity. And crisis in the Gulf has given rise to a crisis of

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that presently legitimates the realist presumptions of international relations and forecloses an interrogation of the theoretical bases of international law.

sorts in postmodern theory.

----------------------------------------------------------The Clean War: A Just War or Just a Game? Was this a just war or just a game? For the winners, both: for the losers, neither. To suggest... that it could be both or neither simultaneously is to challenge the US effort to construct out of this war a new world order based on one truth, one winner, one loser.... [T]his cyberwar is the result of the US effort to fill and to delimit the new void left by the end of the Cold War, the end of the old order, the 'end of history'. While the architecture of the new world order may be built of simulations, its hegemonic effect will be all too real for those nation-states that have little to gain from it. (Der Derian 196-7) 7. The Gulf War was the archetypal authorised expression of force designed to usher in a New World Order.[5] The logic of deterrence (Desert Shield) gave way to a righteous vengeance (Desert Storm) presaged and pursued by a logic of representation that came to define the 'war' itself. More than any other conflict in human history, this authorised bloodshed was scripted for consumption by a willing global audience. 8. The defining images of the Gulf War remain those viewed through the cross-hairs of a smart bomb's targeting system: the New World Order was to be established by precision violence that could follow street maps to a target and enter an underground bunker through the front door (Freedman and Karsh 312). It was a perverse postlude to the sepia-toned horror of the Second World War and the sprawling realism of Vietnam--a knowing prelude to the prime time marine landing in Somalia. [Image] Cokie Roberts (ABC): "You see a building in a sight--it looks more like a video game than anything else. Is there any sort of danger that we don't have any sense of the horrors of war--that it's all a [T]he brutal aggression of Saddam Hussein . . . . It's black and white. The facts are clear. The choice unambiguous. Right vs wrong. --George Bush, the morning after (qtd. in Yant 54) By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all. --George Bush, the morning after (qtd. in Der Derian 9)

Gen Norman Schwarzkopf: "You don't see me treating it like a game. And you didn't see me laughing and joking while it was going on. There are human lives being lost, and at this stage of the game [sic] this is not a time for frivolity on the

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part of anybody." This Week with David Brinkley (qtd. in Der Derian 183)

9. But the 43-day Gulf War was "clean" only in terms of the images that constituted it. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney has stated that the U.S.-led international military assault was spearheaded by "the most successful air-campaign in the history of the world" (Middle East Watch 1). In terms of the coalition's strategic interests this claim is perhaps justified. Airborne superiority was quickly and easily established with more tonnage of Should we high explosive being dropped on Iraq consider during the first month of the conflict multiplying than was used the entire Second World clean wars in War (Gerbner 252). order to reduce the 10. The result was that coalition murderous casualties in the eventual ground war death toll of were low, with official figures listing peacetime? 240 dead and 776 wounded (U.S. Department of Defense 411). Of these, a --Baudrillard quarter of the American deaths and more (The Gulf War than half the British were caused by 69) "friendly fire" (Triumph Without Victory 373). If such deaths are subtracted from the total, there were more casualties in the war exercises leading up to "G-Day" (the beginning of the ground war) than during the war itself (Der Derian 196). As Baudrillard wryly points out, it seems probable that of the half a million American forces involved in seven months of operations in the Gulf, three times as many would have died in road accidents had they remained in civilian life (The Gulf War 69). 11. It is instructive that in a "war" characterised by its precision and detail, the only aspect of the conflict over which much serious doubt remains is the number of Iraqi forces and civilians who perished or were wounded. In his postwar briefing (quickly renamed by the wags in the press "the mother of all press briefings"), General Schwarzkopf told reporters that "there were a very, very large number of dead in these [front line combat] units, a very, very large number of dead" (qtd. in "The Persian Gulf War" A36). When pressed, the U.S. Central Command plucked the figure of 100,000 out of the air, with a margin of error of 50 per cent (Freedman and Karsh 408). While the Pentagon subsequently released exact numbers of Iraqi military hardware destroyed down to the last tank, the calculation of Iraqi casualties was said to remain "impossible" (Freedman and Karsh 408). When the three-volume, 1300-page official history of the Gulf War was published, it made no mention of Iraqi deaths and a draft chapter on casualties is reported to have been deleted (Baker 13).[6] 12. In the following sections, I consider the implications of this successful We believe that they

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transposition of images during the war, a transposition that reduced public perception of the conflict to a black and white morality play, enacted on a two-dimensional representation of distant "other" lands (Link 55). ---------------------------------------Burying the Dead

immorally pervert images. Not so. They alone are conscious of the profound immorality of images.

--Baudrillard [F]ormer Secretary of Defense (The Gulf War Richard Cheney hid behind the law 47) when confronted with reports that United States and Saudi forces used combat earthmovers and tanks fitted with plows to bury alive thousands of Iraqi soldiers, asserting that such tactics were not illegal unless the Iraqi troops formally surrendered. (Normand and af Jochnick 387) 13. A central point of concern for the Pentagon during the Gulf War was what may be appropriately euphemised as "necrology." The Pentagon's suppression of the "body count" was part of a broader projection of the military as possessing the technology to win war without killing, with minimal killing, or with visually innocuous killing (Margot Norris 228-30). The ground attack, which began with the unprecedented tactic of ploughing live Iraqi soldiers into trenches in the desert, provides a grim metaphor for the results.[7] I have absolutely no idea what the Iraqi casualties are, and I tell you, if I have anything to say about it, we're never going to get into the body-count business.

14. The generally high approval of the Gulf --Gen. War seems clearly linked to the success Schwarzkopf of the military's censorship of its (NY times human cost (Margot Norris 231). article name, Apparently simple language games in the page) reportage of the war were seen to be disturbingly effective in blunting public sentiment for Iraqi civilian dead. An American poll found that only 21% of those polled were "very concerned" about the amount of "collateral damage" produced by the war. By contrast, 49% were "very concerned" about "the number of civilian casualties and other unintended damage" in Iraq (Rosenstiel A9). 15. Those dead whom the U.S. military did allow the press to see were often placed in carefully scripted scenes. The soldiers killed while retreating from Kuwait City had been travelling in Iraq vehicles packed with loot--reporters obediently criminalised the dead as burglars, thieves, and thugs (Margot Norris 235). News reports of this, the major story of the ground [Y]ou avoid talking about lives lost, and that serves both an esthetic and a practical purpose.

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war, gave as much space to inventories of the plundered goods as descriptions of the human carnage (Margot Norris 243).[8] 16. This muted representation--the war won without death--seems at odds with the essentially symbolic function of the dead body in warfare, a material fact that is needed to realise the discourse of military conquest: [T]he outcome of war has its substantiation not in an absolute inability of the defeated to contest the outcome but in a process of perception that allows extreme attributes of the body to be translated into another language, to be broken away from the body and relocated elsewhere at the very moment that the body itself is disowned.... The force of the material world is separated from the fifty-seven thousand or fifty million bodies and conferred not only on issues and ideologies that have as a result of the first function been designated the winner, but idea of winning itself. (Scarry 124) In this way, the corpse as sign has traditionally served to mediate between the perception and the reality of winning. 17. In the Gulf War, the corpse was used in ever more subtle ways; the "veiled, vague, but indisputable Iraqi dead served the substantiation of pure U.S. power" (Margot Norris 239), but it was a power that lacked instrumentality except in its own symbolic supererogation. The control over violence was thus augmented by control over its representation; crucially, it enabled a double victory that demonstrated virtually unlimited U.S. power to produce death, while escaping its political and moral consequences. 18. This was the expiation of America's "Vietnam syndrome," a condition that makes no sense without seeing Vietnam as a defeat on both military and moral fronts. Herman and Chomsky describe earlier U.S. attempts to reconstruct ideology and overcome "what Norman Podhoretz, echoing Goebbels, calls 'the sickly inhibitions against the use of

--Loren Thompson (NYTimes article name, 10) Unlike the war in Vietnam, progress in the Gulf war can be clearly measured as the front lines move forward or retreat, and body count will fade into the oblivion it so richly deserves. --Col Harry Summers, Jr (Ret) (A5, A13) also on the

The gradual shrinking of the destructive part of smart bombs was not done for humanitarian purposes. Planners simply calculated that pound for pound, computers, sensors, and fuel were often worth more to overall effectiveness than blast power. --The New Republic (Easterbrook 17-18)

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military force'" (Manufacturing Consent 236-37),[9] but it was the Gulf War that "revived [the] self-confidence of Americans," who felt "relief and pride--relief at remarkably few U.S. casualties and pride in the brilliant performance of the allied forces" ("Gulf War, and Peace" A26). Chilling words in an editorial of the New York Times. ---------------------------------------Virtual War

The real warmongers are those who live on the ideology of the veracity of this war, while the war itself wreaks its havoc at another level by trickery, hyperreality, simulacra, and by the entire mental strategy of deterrence which is played out in the facts and in the images, in --The Guardian the anticipation of the real by (Williamson the virtual, of the event by 21) virtual time, and in the inexorable confusion of the two. All those who understand nothing of this involuntarily reinforce this halo of bluff which surrounds us. (Baudrillard, The Gulf War 67) [Image] 19. Gradually the images of the bombs more smart than their Iraqi targets blur into one another. 20. The ghostly green images of night-vision technology introduced a Manichean quality to the opening scenes of the attack (Der Derian 180). Similarly, the tracking cameras of smart bombs presented the war as a voyeuristic fantasy: a sick parody of "America's Funniest Home Video." But the more closely we examine the images of this "war," we realise that there is nothing but the image. And if we look closer still, the image itself begins to dissolve into pixels of light and dark--a pixelated/pixilated (literally "pixie-led") bastard child of the "mother of all wars." 21. What are the implications of taking Baudrillard's thesis seriously? 22. This is not, of course, to suggest that he should be taken literally. His argument is not that nothing took place in January and February 1991, but that it was unlike any war that had gone before, and that in a very real sense we are unable to verify precisely what took place--direct transmission by CNN of real time information One is reminded of Capricorn One, in which the flight of a manned rocket to Mars, which only took

It is the unreality of anywhere outside the U.S., in the eyes of its citizens, which must frighten any foreigner. Like an infant who has yet to learn there are other centres of self, this culture sees others merely as fodder for its dreams and nightmares.

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notwithstanding (Baudrillard, The Gulf War 61).

23. Thus far, his argument finds much support. Chomsky, for example, also questions the use of the term "war" to describe events, because "there never was a war, at least, if the concept involves two sides in combat. That --Baudrillard didn't happen in the Gulf" (Deterring (The Gulf War Democracy 409).[10] Even official 61) reports ultimately acknowledged that the size of the Iraqi army had been overestimated,[11] and that the eventual battle was one-sided (Freedman and Karsh 407-9). 24. There is also widespread acknowledgment of the limitations of media reports at the time. In addition to the wealth of U.S. law review articles undertaking a First Amendment analysis of media access to the conflict[12] (an endearingly isolationist response), only the most devoted CNN correspondent would deny that military censorship and the concentration of sources distorted the information that was ultimately published.[13] This ranged from the strategic to the absurd. At one extreme, media reports of U.S. Marines on the Saudi border and on amphibious ships off the coast were part of a calculated (and effective) strategy to deceive Iraqi intelligence as to the likely direction of the attack (Taylor and Blackwell 234). At the other, the charade of media hegemony nearly collapsed in those moments when the CNN cameras crossed live to a group of reporters assembled "somewhere in the Gulf"--only to have them confess that they too were sitting around watching CNN to find out what was happening.[14] Other studies have detailed the use of propaganda in the conflict: a falsified eye-witness account of Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators and leaving them to die;[15] uncritical CNN footage of a "bombed baby milk factory" that boasted a camouflaged roof, high-security fence, and armed guards (Rennie 17). 25. But Baudrillard goes much further than this. He argues that more than simply questioning the nature of this war and the media's complicity in its exposition, there is a need to interrogate the very notion of truth qua simulacrum itself. Assuming a position for or against the war denies inquiry into "the very probability of the war, its credibility or degree of reality" (The Gulf War 67). Rather, it is necessary to resist the probability of the image (26-7, 66). 26. It is this argument that provoked a book-length response from Christopher Norris.[16] He argues that Baudrillard's essays constitute a definitive exposure of the political

place in a desert studio, was relayed live to all the television stations in the world.

All political and ideological speculations fall under mental deterrence (stupidity). By virtue of their immediate consensus on the evidence they feed the unreality of this war, they reinforce its bluff by their

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bankruptcy of postmodern scholarship unconscious and "the depth of ideological dupery. complicity that exists between such forms of extreme anti-realist or --Baudrillard irrationalist doctrine and the crisis (The Gulf War of moral and political nerve" that 67) presently afflicts Western intellectuals (27). Attacking the "frivolous" exercise of making the Gulf War into a pretext for arcane disputes about the "politics of theory," he links such theoretical exercises to a prevailing mood of "cynical acquiescence" that fails to contest the official version of events (29). 27. Norris's warnings as to the dangers of dissociating theory from praxis are, of course, important. But his reading of Baudrillard's scepticism as demonstrative of moral and political nihilism (194) assumes an opponent of straw. For the challenge that Baudrillard presents is not the rejection of political purchase, but a rigorous resistance to the acceptance of the virtual as or in place of the real: Resist the probability of any image or information whatever. Be more virtual than events themselves, do not seek to re-establish the truth, we do not have the means, but do not be duped, and to that end re-immerse the war and all information in the virtuality from whence they come. Turn deterrence back against itself. Be meteorologically sensitive to stupidity. (Baudrillard, The Gulf War 66-67) 28. Norris reads this reference to "stupidity" as denying any "operative difference between truth and falsehood, veridical knowledge and its semblance" (12), and precluding any form of ethico-political accountability that depends upon a notion of the "real" (194). Nevertheless, Baudrillard's position is more properly seen as denoting a profound and abiding suspicion of a "reality" whose primary referent is the simulations of American war games. 29. Moreover, the tone of Baudrillard's essays is far from equivocal. At times his writing exhibits a very black reductio ad absurdum humour: So you say this was a clean, minimalist war with little "collateral damage"? Why stop there--war? what war? (Patton 7). The prevailing tone is ironic, however. The logic of deterrence (the sustained denial of the possibility of war) has come to supplant the actuality of war; violence can only take place as a sterilised simulation of itself.[18] In an extended sexual metaphor, the If Mattel brought out a doe-eyed doll called Iraqi Baby, it could be guaranteed to evoke pity. Meanwhile on the national news, shots of birds caught in 'Saddam's oil slick' have been presented more poignantly than the human victims of our bombing. --The Guardian (Williamson 43)[17] It is not for lack of brandishing

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military--which thrives on particular forms of male sexuality--is emasculated by its dependence on virtual pornography.[19] 30. Baudrillard also appears to be aware of these criticisms. In stating, as he did just a few weeks before the UN deadline expired, that the proposed war would not take place, he acknowledged the dangers of such an approach in a postscriptum: To demonstrate the impossibility of war just at the moment when it must take place, when the signs of its occurrence are accumulating, is a stupid gamble. But it would have been even more stupid not to seize the opportunity. (Baudrillard, The Gulf War 28)

31. In pursuing such a "fatal strategy," Baudrillard plays upon his own belief that writing should be less a representation of reality than its --Baudrillard transfiguration (Patton 6). He has (The Gulf War subsequently suggested that in time and 74) with a little imagination, it may be possible to read The Gulf War Did Not Take Place as if it were a science fiction novel (qtd. in Gane 203). 32. James Der Derian, by contrast, argues that such an approach may be more effective than that presented by the modernist school of criticism. Der Derian states that theorists who attempted to construct a critical and universal counter-memory were easily isolated as anti-American and dismissed as utopian (177). Adopting a poststructuralist approach to such political encounters may well bring with it the danger that no new pragmatic basis for justice and truth will emerge. Nevertheless, he argues, ...better strategically to play with apt critiques of the powerful new forces unleashed by cyberwar than to hold positions with antiquated tactics and nostalgic unities. (178)

the threat of a chemical war, a bloody war, a world war--everyone had their say--as though it were necessary to give ourselves a fright, to maintain everyone in a state of erection for fear of seeing the flaccid member of war fall down. This futile masturbation was the delight of all the TVs.

[A]rmchair strategists can now fly over the virtual battlefield. . . during any moment of the battle. They can even change the parameters--give the Iraqis infrared targeting scopes, for instance, which they lacked at the time. --Wired (Sterling 95-96)[20]

33. But just how new is this notion of a "cyberwar"? And what implications does it have today, now that the smart bombs are yesterday's toys and the rhetoric of the New World Order lies in the ruins of Somalia, Bosnia, and

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Rwanda? ----------------------------------------------------------Virtual Order The first and most obvious lesson of the Gulf War to date is that technology works. --Naval Institute Proceedings (qtd. in Margot Norris 232) 34. Margot Norris considers the Gulf War-inspired thesis that "technology works" as inaugurating an Enlightenment fascination with the progressive rationalism of smart weaponry. Coupled with a corresponding apathy and disavowal of human suffering, she argues that death at the hands of such "modern" tools of destruction takes on the pornographic contours of de Sade (232).[21] Buck Rogers or Luke Skywalker would be at home in the Gulf War. --Naval Institute Proceedings (qtd. in Margot Norris 232)

35. If the distinctive characteristics of the Gulf War were (merely) improved killing capacity and public apathy, [M]odern war however, the only novel aspect would be is a cyborg the scale on which it was conducted. It orgy. is precisely this modernist conception of order through technology that has --Haraway (66) long dominated international relations theory. Among other things, it underpinned the arms race, plaything of the (ana)logic of game theory.[22] Similarly, the scientific use of propaganda has played a significant role in armed hostilities since at least the First World War.[23] 36. But it is the deeper critique in Baudrillard's analysis that isolates the peculiarities of the Gulf War as a "postmodern" conflict.[24] Here it is important to read his work in the context of an international system that had only recently passed from "dualistic (East and West) deterrence" (The Gulf War 84), and in which a pax Americana seemed to be a distinct possibility. The truth claim that Baudrillard contests is that which would posit the "war" as "the first consensual war, the first war conducted legally and globally with a view to putting an end to war" (The Gulf War 83).[25] In this light, far from being apolitical, his work can be read as a challenge to the view that the world can be reduced to the global common denominator of democracy, with the lowest common multiplier being information in all its forms: [I]n this electronic war there is no longer an enemy, there is only a refractory element which must be neutralised and consensualised. This is what the Americans seek to do, these missionary people bearing electroshocks which will shepherd everybody towards democracy. (The Gulf War 84)

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37. This of course rails against conservative reactions to the end of the Cold War, most notably the "unabashed victory of economic and political liberalism" posited by Francis Fukuyama in his "End of History" thesis (3).[26] In more explicitly populist terms, the way "we won the Cold War"[27] has reinforced what "we" knew all along: that Western domination of the world was historically necessary and morally justified.[28] 38. Unlike critics of the Left who attack the political hegemony of the U.S.,[29] however, Baudrillard's approach is to focus on the informational hegemony that he sees as legitimating and to some extent making this political dominion inevitable. This approach in particular casts a critical light on contemporary movements within international relations theory. Much of the current literature on the present "crisis" of theory in the discourse points to the intellectual poverty of realism and the precarious position of the state as founding myth of international order.[30] Broadly speaking, these tend to focus on the globalising and fragmenting trends in international relations that challenge the position of the state as a unitary body whose territorial borders remain as inviolable as the abstract notion of sovereignty that legitimises them.[31] However, while these analyses are instructive in so far as they open up the discipline of international relations to factors other than documenting the behaviour of states, they ultimately retain the perceptions of order and power that tied realism to the level of diplomatic history, working within the modernist epistemology whose political manifestations they seek to challenge.[32] 39. In this way, these approaches may be compared to two other attempts to "displace" the realist paradigm while explicitly working within the same conceptual framework: Kenneth Waltz's "neorealist" structural theory of world politics in the late 1970s[33] and Samuel Huntington's facile "Clash of Civilizations" thesis (Huntington 22). What these approaches have in common is

This argument flies in the face of the shibboleth that America cannot be the world's policeman [sic]. In truth, it must be more than that. A policeman gets his [sic] assignments from higher authority, but in the community of nations there is no authority higher than America. . . . America is akin to the philosopher in Plato's parable of the cave. Only the man who has achieved philosophic knowledge is truly fit to rule, said Plato, but having achieved it, he will resist being drawn back down to the mundane tasks of ruling. --Muravchik (1-2) We may have won the Cold War, which is nice--it's more than nice, it's wonderful. But this means that now the enemy is us,

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the assumption that the contemporary not them. problems faced by international relations are empirical rather than --Kristol (28) theoretical,[34] a trend that finds its epitome in the much-heralded arrival of neorealism as presenting a more "scientific" approach to politics--that is, an approach that is more "operationalizable."[35] In the case of neorealism, the answer was seen in increasing abstraction of the state as actor; in Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" it was the search for a definitive and static paradigm to end the uncertainty left by the post-Cold War world: In class and ideological conflicts, the key question was "Which side are you on?" and people could and did choose sides and change sides. In conflicts between civilizations, the question is "What are you?" That is a given that cannot be changed.[36] 40. This desire to replace the state and sovereignty (taking form in the balance of power) as the ordering principle of international relations with another structural determinant fundamentally misses the point of current uncertainties, merely re-placing new currency into an old economy.[37] The "interpretative crisis" recognised by many analysts is not a problem to be solved simply by finding "a new paradigm that accounts for... facts in a more satisfactory fashion" (Huntington 27). Rather, it represents a challenge to the discipline itself, demanding a re-presentation not merely of the state and its anarchical society, but of subject and order.[38] 41. Baudrillard's questioning of the reality of the Gulf War can be read as an ironic challenge to such conceptions of order. In particular, he offers a critique of the political project of theorists such as Fukuyama and Huntington, who in distinct ways posit a new post-Cold War order that is ultimately reducible to an opposition of the West against Islam (Huntington 35-36, 49).[39] Baudrillard notes, however, that this is an opposition that will not be fought even in a "cold" war. Western hegemony has gone far beyond that. Instead, as the Gulf War illustrated, [t]he crucial stake, the decisive stake in this whole Only in the state does man have a rational existence.... Man owes his entire existence to the state, and his being within it alone. Whatever worth and spiritual reality he possesses are solely by virtue of the state. --Hegel (94) (emphasis added) [T]his relationship between law and violence--the continued impossibility of law's premised alterity to violence--focuses our attention upon the terrain of law's struggle--a struggle which we might better

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affair is the consensual reduction of Islam to the global order. Not to destroy but to domesticate it, by whatever means: modernisation, even military, politicisation, nationalism, democracy, the Rights of Man, anything at all to electrocute the resistances and the symbolic challenge that Islam represents for the entire West. (The Gulf War 85; emphasis added) 42. In such a régime, war is less a confrontation of warriors than the domestication of refractory forces on the planet. (Baudrillard, The Gulf War 86) 43. War, as Baudrillard observes, is no longer what it used to be. -----------------------------------Reprise: The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (Again)

think of as a struggle with itself. Moreover... this terrain is institutional--the state in international society. --Kennedy (283) Islam has bloody borders. --Huntington (35) Muslims contrasted Western actions against Iraq with the West's failure to protect Bosnians against Serbs. . . . A world of clashing civilizations, however, is inevitably a world of double standards: people apply one standard to their kin-countries and a different standard to others.

It was, from the American point of view, a lovely crisis. It had the deep-dyed and familiar villain, Saddam Hussein. It had bold and decisive military action from Commander Clinton, without a single American life put at risk. It featured a reliable supporting actor, Great Britain, playing "loyal little ally". The U.S. Air Force and the Navy both got leading parts. And it quite knocked out of the national mind any scurrilous gossip about the presidential --Huntington political consultant Dick (36) Morris. All that, and the missile strikes won 81 per cent approval ratings in the first ABC poll. (Walker 6) 44. Perhaps the greatest irony of the Gulf War lies in the different fates of its two main characters. Saddam Hussein remains in power, while George Bush was defeated in an election where his rival directly challenged his approach to foreign policy issues. In late 1996 Americans went to the polls once more, with Bill Clinton trumpeting the same slogans as Bush did four years earlier, "Commander Clinton" at the helm of the

Admittedly, military violence is in the first place used quite directly, as predatory violence, toward its ends. Yet it is

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new world order. 45. The moral issues that had seemed so black and white to President Bush[40]--the just war of freedom against tyranny--soon dissolved into the post-conflict dilemmas presented by the Kurds. As the Iraqi régime recovered its strength (despite sanctions that continue to claim civilian lives), it was no longer clear what had been gained from the sacrifice of so many lives. A perfect semblance of victory was exchanged for a perfect semblance of defeat (Baudrillard, The Gulf War 71). 46. In a very "real" sense, then, the Gulf War did not take place. Even the last phase of this armed mystification will have changed nothing, for the 100,000 Iraqi dead will only have been the final decoy that Saddam will have sacrificed, the blood money paid... to conserve his power. What is worse is that these dead still serve as an alibi for those who do not want to have been excited for nothing:... at least the dead would prove that this war was indeed a war and not a shameful and pointless hoax (Baudrillard, The Gulf War 72). 47. Clearly, the Gulf War did not mark the end of war as such. Bosnia and Rwanda are stark reminders that history has not ended, and that the same rages of old are manifest in our New World Order. But the ambiguous start to the New World Order did herald the emergence of a new form of violence. Violence that is unrecognisably sterilised or distorted to serve other ends. Violence justified by reference to a consensus reducible to a single voice. Violence that derives meaning only from representation, which perfect representation emerges as the ordering principle of a world rendered pure through the disavowal of reality beyond the borders of the image. Magdalen College--Oxford University

very striking that even--or, rather, precisely--in primitive conditions that know hardly the beginnings of constitutional relations, and even in cases where the victor has established himself in invulnerable possession, a peace ceremony is entirely necessary. Indeed, the word "peace," in the sense in which it is the correlative to the word "war" (for there is also a quite different meaning, similarly unmeta-phorical and political, the one used by Kant in talking of "Eternal Peace"), denotes this a priori, necessary sanctioning, regardless of all other legal conditions, of every victory. This sanction consists precisely in recognizing the new conditions as a new "law," quite regardless of whether they need de facto any guarantee of their continuation. If, therefore, conclusions can

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be drawn from military violence, as being primordial and paradigmatic of all violence used for natural ends, there is inherent in all such violence a lawmaking character.

----------------------------------------------------------Notes I would like to thank Wayne Morgan for his comments on earlier drafts of this article. 1. This article is reprinted in Baudrillard, The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (1995): all subsequent citations from the article will be from this edition. The essay also appeared in an early translation entitled "The Reality Gulf" in The Guardian, 11 Jan. 1991. 2. See generally Jean Baudrillard, Simulations. 3. See, for example, Christopher Norris, Uncritical Theory: Postmodernism, Intellectuals, and the Gulf War 11. 4. Cf. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy 410. 5. See, for example, George Bush, "The Possibility of a New World Order," Speech at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. Cf. Oscar Schachter, "United Nations Law in the Gulf Conflict" 452, 472. 6. In January 1992, Beth Osborne Daponte, a demographer with the United States Census Bureau, publicly released unclassified estimates that a total of 86,194 men, 39,612 women, and 32,195 children died as a direct resu lt of the Gulf War. Daponte estimated that 13,000 civilians had been killed during the Coalition's air and land campaigns, with other deaths attributable to the post-war Kurd and Shi'ite rebellions and to disease and malnutrition caused by the war (Jones 12). She claimed that her report on casualties had been rewritten, with the death toll lowered and data on women and children removed. The Census Bureau fired Daponte, claiming that her figures had not received "proper

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peer review." She was reinstated a fter alleging in a lawsuit that her dismissal was politically motivated (see "Agency Reinstates Tabulator of Iraqi War Deaths" A14 and Gellman A5). Daponte later published a more comprehensive study, in which she estimated that 110,000 Iraqi civilian dea ths resulted from war-induced health effects (Daponte 57, 62) 7. See Patrick Sloyan, "Buried Alive: US Tanks Used Plows to Kill Thousands in Gulf War Trenches" 1, and Chomsky, Deterring Democracy 410-11. In its final report, the Pentagon justified this action at some length, arguing not only that "there is a gap in the law of war defining precisely when surrender takes effect or how it may be accomplished in practical terms," but also that "military necessity required that the assault through the forward Iraqi defens ive line be conducted with maximum speed and violence" (Conduct of the Persian Gulf War 629-30). A similar legal rationale was used to justify the slaughter of thousands of Iraqi soldiers attempting to flee from Kuwait City to Basra along the Matla Ridge during the ground assault without formally surrendering (631-32). 8. See, for example, Laurie Becklund and Stephen Braun, "A Rallying Point for Iraqi Exiles." 9. See also Chomsky, Deterring Democracy 148. 10. Cf. Chomsky, "The Media and the War: What War?" in Mowlana et al. 51. 11. General Schwarzkopf had stated that the Coalition strategy for the ground war was to achieve an "end run" around Iraqi troop concentrations in order to overcome a two-to-three disadvantage in manpower ("The Persi an Gulf War" A36). By contrast, a congressional report released in April 1991 concluded that due to depleted units, desertions, and casualties from the air war, Iraq actually had fewer than 183,000 soldiers in the Kuwaiti theater of operations compared t o 800,000 military personnel from 36 nations in the Coalition at the start of the ground assault (See Draper 38, 43 and Sachs 17). 12. See, for example, Mark Radhert, "The First Amendment and Media Rights During Wartime: Some Thoughts After Operation Desert Storm" 1513; "Lost Testimony: The Gulf War, Restricted Access, and the First Amendment" 26 1; "Press Censorship and Access Restrictions During the Persian Gulf War: A First Amendment Analysis" 1073. 13. Cf. Begleiter, "The Impact of the Media on International Law and Relations" 119-23. (Begleiter was an international affairs correspondent with CNN.) 14. Cf. Paul Patton, 'Introduction' in Baudrillard, The Gulf War 2. 15. It was later revealed that the witness, who testified before a Congressional Human Rights Caucus, was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S. and that she

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had been coached by a public relations firm hi red by the Kuwaiti government (Kellner 67-8). 16. Christopher Norris, Uncritical Theory. 17. In another layer of irony, this oil slick was subsequently determined to have been caused by Allied bombing of inshore installations (Christopher Norris 24). 18. This is perhaps the logical extreme of Vegetius' dictum, "Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum" [Let him who desires peace, prepare for war] (Flavius Vegetius Renatus, Epitoma Rei Militaris, book 3). 19. See Baudrillard, The Gulf War 62, 74-5, 77. 20. Sterling discusses a gaming simulation of one of the tank battles from the closing stages of the conflict, produced by army historians and simulation modelers. 21. Curiously, Norris suggests that this sadism lacks erotic content and imagery (232-3). 22. See, for example, Alexander Wendt, "Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics" 391; Robert Keohane, "International Institutions: Two Approaches" (1988) 379; Charles Lipson, "Int ernational Cooperation in Economic and Security Affairs" 69-70. 23. See Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927). On the use of rape for propaganda purposes in war, see Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape 40-58. Cf. Mackenz ie, Propaganda and Empire. 24. See above paragraphs 25-31. 25. On the Great-Power pressure diplomacy that achieved "consensus" on Security Council Resolution 678 (authorising the use of "all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent rel evant resolutions"), see Weston, "Security Council Resolution 678 and Persian Gulf Decision Making: Precarious Legitimacy" 516, 523-5. 26. Fukuyama was a deputy director of the U.S. State Department's policy planning staff at the time that this article was published; it has since been expanded into a book: Francis Fukuyama, The End of History an d the Last Man (1992). 27. Cf. Noam Chomsky, Year 501: The Conquest Continues 61-4. 28. Cf. Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism 313. 29. See, for example, Tom Mayer, "Imperialism and the Gulf War" 1, and Booker, Background to the Gulf War. 30. Cast from the failure of liberalism to prevent the Second World War and tempered by the exigencies of Cold War

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bipolarity, realism eschewed Wilsonian utopianism in favour of Machiavellian pragmatism--less a Kantia n theory of peace, it was a theory of Realpolitik. Axiomatic to this conception of international order-through-disorder was the population of international society by unitary, rational and power-seeking actors: states. See generally Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, and Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics. Cf. John Mearsheimer's discussion of realism's five assumptions about the internationa l system: (i) the international system is anarchic; (ii) states inherently possess some offensive military capability, making them potentially dangerous to each other; (iii) no state can ever be completely certain about the intentions of other states; (iv ) the most basic motive driving states is survival; and (v) states think strategically--that is, they are instrumentally rational (Mearsheimer 9-10). For a critical analysis of this paradigm, see James Der Derian, "Introduction: Critical Investigations" i n James Der Derian (ed), International Theory: Critical Investigations (1995). Cf. Rob Walker's discussion of realism's "parasitic" relation to idealism in Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory. 31. See, for example, Joseph Camilleri and Jim Falk, The End of Sovereignty? The Politics of a Shrinking and Fragmenting World. 32. See Simon Chesterman, "Review Essay: The Politics of Sovereignty" 175. The project of opening up international relations to meaningful interrogation requires an exploration of the self-evident divide between the "political" and the "international" that led to a history, rather than a theory, of international relations: see Hans Morgenthau's response to Wight's essay, "The Intellectual and Political Functions of Theory" Morgenthau, Truth and Power: Essays o f a Decade, 1960-1970 (1248-61), listing the reasons for this as being (i) the presumed self-evidence of the state as a natural form beyond human control; (ii) the 'reformist orientation that characterized theoretical thinking' of Wilsonian liberal ism and its ilk--the aim being "not in understanding the operation of the balance of power but in getting rid of it"; and (iii) the contingency of all political analysis that obviates the possibility of theoretical understanding. 33. Neo-realism describes the international system through two constants and one variable. The constants are the existence of an anarchical system of horizontally distributed power (as opposed to ver tical distribution within a state), and the population of that system by similarly functioning units (states) whose behaviour is determined according to that system (much the way that diverse corporations function similarly within an economic market). The variable is the distribution of power capabilities across the system, and much has been written concerning the inevitability (and, indeed, desirability) of a bipolar system epitomised by the Cold War. See generally,

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Waltz, Theory of International Politics. For a critique of neorealism's un- or anti-historical approach, see Paul Schroeder, "Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory." 34. Cf. Janice Thomson, "State Sovereignty in International Relations: Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Empirical Research" 213, 217. 35. Waltz argued that neorealism represents an advance of scientific rigour vis-à-vis the older realism, measured by the ability of a theoretical approach to generate propositions or predictions that are empir ically testable in such a way that the tests and their results may be replicated: see Steven Forde, "International Realism and the Science of Politics: Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Neorealism" 141, 142. The intellectual barrenness of this approach has be en attacked at length by various authors: see, for example, Fred Halliday's description of the "parsimonious and atemporal maxims of Waltz's neo-realism, "The Cold War and its Conclusion: Consequences for International Relations Theory" (12). See also t he collections of essays in Robert Keohane, ed., Neorealism and Its Critics and Baldwin, Neorealism and Neoliberalism: The Contemporary Debate. 36. See also Huntington's analysis of his contribution to the discipline in terms of Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions, "If Not Civilizations, What?" 37. Cf. Fouad Ajami's response to Huntington, 'The Summoning' 2, 9: "let us be clear: civilizations do not control states, states control civilizations." See also the other critiques of Huntington's thesis published in volume 72, number 4 of Foreign Affairs. Cf. Adam Tarock, "Civilisational Conflict? Fighting the Enemy Under a New Banner," and Jacinta O'Hagan, "Civilisational Conflict? Looking for Cultural Enemies." 38. See Simon Chesterman, "Law, Subject and Subjectivity in International Relations: International Law and the Postcolony." Dianne Otto makes an allied point when she notes that a crucial step towards realising the possibilities of new forms of international community is "unlearning" the view that multiplicity is incommensurable with order, and that order depends on force and discipline ("Subalternity and International Law: The Problems of Global Community and the I ncommensurability of Difference" 337). 39. Cf. Fukuyama 14. 40. See Yant, Desert Mirage: The True Story of the Gulf War 54. Works Cited "Agency Reinstates Tabulator of Iraqi War Deaths." New York Times 13 April 1992: A14. Ajami, Fouad. "The Summoning." Foreign Affairs 72.4 (1993):

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