Desert Storm Land Power The Coalition and Iraqi Armies by Tim Ripley

By Tim Ripley

Tim Ripley weighs up the armies that faced one another around the Saudi border in Kuwait and within the deserts of southern Iraq. He unearths the huge strengths and weaknesses which characterised both sides. The Iraqis, for instance, had a bonus in long-range artillery. Weapon platforms, tanks, education, small palms, certain Forces, assault helicopters, Scud missiles, defended positions, undercover agent satellites, ammunition kinds, strive against engineering, the specter of chemical and organic war , and plenty of different components which helped be sure the process the clash are tested intimately.

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At that time I had just finished a draft of a novel about the 23 February 1981 coup d’état in Spain, and was full of doubts about what I’d written and I remember wondering how many Spaniards must think Adolfo Suárez was a fictional character, that General Gutiérrez Mellado was a fictional character, that Santiago Carrillo or Lieutenant Colonel Tejero were fictional characters. It still strikes me as a relevant question. It’s true that Winston Churchill died more than forty years ago, that General Gutiérrez Mellado died less than fifteen years ago and as I write Adolfo Suárez, Santiago Carrillo and Lieutenant Colonel Tejero are still alive, but it’s also true that Churchill is a top-ranking historical figure and, if Suárez might share that position, at least in Spain, General Gutiérrez Mellado and Santiago Carrillo, not to mention Lieutenant Colonel Tejero, do not; furthermore, in Churchill’s time television was not yet the main fabricator of reality as well as the main fabricator of unreality on the planet, while one of the characteristics that defines the 23 February coup is that it was recorded by television cameras and broadcast all over the world.

No real person becomes fictitious by appearing on television, not even by being a television personality more than anything else, but television probably contaminates everything it touches with unreality, and the nature of an historic event alters in some way when it is broadcast on television, because television distorts (if not trivializes and demeans) the way we perceive things. The 23 February coup coexists with this anomaly: as far as I know, it’s the only coup in history filmed for television, and the fact that it was filmed is at once its guarantee of reality and its guarantee of unreality; added to the repeated astonishment the images produce, to the historic magnitude of the event and to the still troubling areas of real or assumed shadows, these circumstances might explain the unprecedented mishmash of fictions in the form of baseless theories, fanciful ideas, embellished speculations and invented memories that surround them.

Although we know he is a real character, he is an unreal character; although we know it is a real image, it is an unreal image: a scene from a cliché-ridden Spanish film fresh from the hackneyed brain of a mediocre imitator of Luis García Berlanga. No real person becomes fictitious by appearing on television, not even by being a television personality more than anything else, but television probably contaminates everything it touches with unreality, and the nature of an historic event alters in some way when it is broadcast on television, because television distorts (if not trivializes and demeans) the way we perceive things.

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