Gulf War: media treated 'like animals'

April 17, 1991

Gulf War: media treated 'like animals'

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — The United States military treated journalists covering the Gulf War like "animals in the zoo", retired US Army colonel David Hackworth told a conference here on April 5.

Hackworth, the US Army's most decorated soldier during the Vietnam War, reported the Gulf War as a correspondent for Newsweek magazine.

He told the First International Conference on Defence and the Media in Time of Limited Conflict that there was less censorship in Iraq than in Saudi Arabia during the war.

The conference, at the Queensland University of Technology, created considerable controversy because of its bias in attendance and speakers toward the militarist position, with antiwar or even critical voices a tiny minority. Peace activists picketed on its opening day, April 3.

"The US military acted not unlike Big Brother in Orwell's novel, 1984. Correspondents were restricted from each access, fired upon, blindfolded, thumped with rifle butts, arrested, made to play out the propaganda games of the military high command, interrogated and treated with total paranoia", Hackworth said.

"I think it is sometimes forgotten that in two countries, America and Australia, it was an elected Congress and an elected Parliament that sent forces to the Gulf. The people who elected those governments damn well deserved to know what those forces were doing."

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