DESERT MIRAGE by Martin Yant


The True Story of the Gulf War
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 Columbus, Ohio, journalist Yant offers a carefully documented, scathing indictment of the Persian Gulf War as a ``war of deception'' amounting to outright fraud by US leaders. Yant has combed the mainstream press and some sources outside it to gather disturbing evidence about this highly groomed war in which ``media manipulation and censorship took [on] new and sinister forms.'' But even though much of the evidence is published elsewhere, Yant pieces it together into a lucid whole. Kuwait, the author finds, deliberately provoked Iraq by raising oil prices and pumping disputed oil, and Saudi Arabia encouraged the Iraqis to assume an aggressive stance against Kuwait. Yant reviews ambiguous moves by the US (including Ambassador Glaspie's assurance to Hussein that the US had ``no opinion on Arab-Arab border conflicts''). Satellite photos taken after the invasion suggest that Iraq was not menacing Saudi Arabia; Bush, Yant says, ``deliberately overstated [Iraq's nuclear bomb capability] after surveys showed the issue could positively affect public opinion.'' The author looks at how the military pool-reporting system resulted in the news media being ``first misled, then intimidated, and finally co-opted.'' Especially chilling is a discussion of whether Iraqi troops ``withdrew'' or ``retreated,'' a distinction that the coalition (saying the troops were under retreat) used to justify the strafing and carpet-bombing that killed untold numbers of Iraqis (buried uncounted in mass graves). Overall, Yant argues that the US wanted military intervention from the beginning and hid the success of the blockade and the viability of several peace initiatives to get its way. In the best tradition of contrarian investigative journalism, and worth consideration. (Four-page photo insert--not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1991
ISBN: 0-87975-678-0
Page count: 210pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1991