The Gulf War: Is It Really Taking Place by Jean Baudrillard

“The war, along with the fake and presumptive warriors, generals, experts and television presenters we see speculating about it all through the day, watches itself in a mirror: am I pretty enough, am I operational enough, am I spectacular enough, am I sophisticated enough to make an entry onto the historical stage?”

“Unlike earlier wars, in which there were political aims either of conquest or domination, what is at stake in this one is war itself: its status, its meaning, its future.  It is beholden not to have an objective but to prove its very existence (this crisis of identity affects the existence of us all).  In effect, it has lost much of its credibility.”

“This one is perhaps only a test, a desperate attempt to see whether war is still possible.”

“…what never began ends without having taken place.”

“The isolation of the enemy by all kinds of electronic interference creates a sort of barricade behind which he becomes invisible.  He also becomes “stealthy”, and his capacity for resistance becomes indeterminable.  In annihilating him at a distance and is it were by transparency, it becomes impossible to discern whether or not he is dead.”

“If we do not have practical intelligence about the war (and none among us has), at least let us have a sceptical intelligence towards it, without renouncing the pathetic feeling of its absurdity.”

Baudrillard presents some diamonds in the rough but you have to wade through the rhetoric and not-so-subtle dipping into the thesaurus.  I would recommend this segment to read.  Instead of passing off his questions or stances as ridiculous or even worse, tacitly accepting their propositions; instead seek to answer or refute the questions and answers he presents.  I’m not surprised that a Nietzsche scholar undertook the translation of the copy I found.  Maybe that little fact alone puts Baudrillard’s writing into the proper perspective.

Kryptosfan