One war known by many names – The First Gulf War, lasted from January 17th to February 28th of 1991. Operation Desert Storm or the Video Game War – are the other names of the First Gulf War. As many names as you want to give, it was an after-effect of serious political turmoil between Iraq, Kuwait, the USA, and the United Arab Emirates. Which ultimately led to war. But out of all the names, why was such a critical situation made popular as the Video Game War? Let’s find complete answers to the same.
Background Of The First Gulf War
An ongoing war between Iraq and Iran during the 1980s had put Iraq in debt to the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Because these countries had financed Iraq’s war expenses. The problem started when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein claimed that they (United Arab Emirates and Kuwait) should release Iraq from the debt. As he believed that they owed him for protecting them against Iran.
- Moving on, Saddam Hussein threatened Kuwait, reigniting a serious border issue almost a decade old.
- Also, in 1990, he claimed that the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait were overproducing crude oils and depriving Iraq of oil revenues.
- On the Iraq-Kuwait border, Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait of stealing oil and USA and Israel of backing it up, lowering oil prices.
Situations deteriorated with Iraq invading Kuwait in the August of 1990. The United Nations Security Council did step in and called for them to withdraw the forces on the 3rd of August of the same year. The council put a ban on Iraq’s official trade relations and other sanctions it had been enjoying for so long.
But Iraq continued increasing its occupation of Kuwait, placing some 300,000 troops.
On 8th August, the government of Iraq went into annexing Kuwait. And on the other hand, the U.S. military planes started arriving in Saudi Arabia as a part of military buildup. Accompanying U.S. forces were NATO allies, besides Egypt and several other Arab countries. Thus marking the launch of Operation Desert Storm.
Why The First Gulf War Is Called The Video Game War?
With so much so being the political situation, let’s face the question, “Why the First Gulf War is called the Video Game War?”
The era before, during, and after World War 2 introduced the world to consumerism, industrialization, women going out to work, and, most importantly, television. By 1947, there were around 44,000 TVs, and the numbers steadily increased. Also, several TV networks slowly came into existence.
By the time of the First Gulf War, the internet was still a few years away, but television did it all.
It was Bernard Shaw, Peter Arnett, and John Holliman from CNN describing the beginning of the Video Game War or Operation Desert Storm from the 9th floor of a hotel in Baghdad. However, due to a lack of technological advancements, the reporters could not transport images or videos of the scene unraveling in front of them. It was only audio that they could serve.
The live reporting on the first night of the war was exceptional because, till then, it was free of government restrictions. Just after 24 hours, when the war had started, Iraqi authorities imposed censorship, and following them, there were restraints from the U.S. As per the U.S. protocol, satellites capable of live broadcasting could jeopardize the military security of the U.S. army. So as per the recommendation of a specific governing body, only a few journalists got entry into the battle zones. Then they could share the reports with their colleagues.
The Video Game War’s Overview
The First Gulf War was a huge hit for television marketers. Various networks came up with different titles for the war. The coverage stories and explanations included the danger imposed by a sudden attack of the Iraqi Scud Missiles and the heroic act of the U.S. troops.
The Defense Department went on supplying most videos of the air war. Cameras with night shooting mode did the shooting. All of it looked futuristic, making people compare the same with video games.
However, for the reporters who made all the effort and went into the war situation, reporting live, it was an act of bravery that they indulged in with repercussions.
So that is all about the First Gulf War getting termed as the Video Game War and how the rest of the world was able to get a live glimpse of any war-like situation for the first time.