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Subject: AEJ 95 MouldD QS The press at the Gulf War battle of Khafji
From: Elliott Parker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:AEJMC Conference Papers <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 3 Feb 1996 18:04:03 EST
Content-Type:text/plain
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LEAKS IN THE POOL:
 
THE PRESS AT THE GULF WAR BATTLE OF KHAFJI
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Submitted to Qualitative Studies Division
 
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
 
By David H. Mould
School of Telecommunications
Ohio University
 
February 1995
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Address for correspondence:
 
School of Telecommunications, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701
 
Phone: 614/593-4873 (office); 614/696-1157 (home)
 
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
 
 
 
 
 
 
Leaks in the Pool: The Press at the Gulf War Battle of Khafji
        An Iraqi military communique described it as "a lightning ground attack"
 
          in which "our valiant forces crushed the armies of infidelity."
Baghdad
 
          Radio called it a "splendid victory over the enemies of God, the
enemies of
 the Arabs and Muslims."[1] General Norman Schwarzkopf dismissed it as "about
 
          as significant as a mosquito on an elephant" while the Saudi
commander,
 
         Lieutenant General Prince Khalid bin Sultan, called it a "suicide
mission."[2]
  The press corps was sceptical.  "How come the ground war began in the
 
         last days of January with an Iraqi attack?" asked Time magazine.  At
 
      briefings in Riyadh, reporters wondered how underfed, lice-ridden Iraqi
 
         troops, who had been under aerial bombardment for two weeks, could
advance
 
          into Saudi Arabia.  In a cartoon in Le Monde, a soldier shooting at an
 
        Iraqi rebukes a television crew.  "You were told--the ground war is
going
 
          to start later!"[3]
 
        Two weeks after the beginning of the Gulf War, the Iraqis launched a
 
       series of cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia.  Allied air and armored
 
          units drove them back, inflicting heavy losses, but for 36 hours the
Iraqis
 held the border town of Khafji.  The battle raises fundamental issues in
 
          what John MacArthur has called the second front of the Gulf War--the
 
      struggle by the coalition to maintain domestic and international support
 
          through control of information.[4]  It was not, as it turned out, the
first
 
          battle of the ground war but no one--the allies, the Iraqis or the
 
    press--knew that at the time.  From a military perspective, it was a defeat
 for Saddam Hussein.  Thirty Iraqis were killed, another 37 wounded and 466
 taken prisoner; at least seven tanks and nine armored personnel carriers
 
          were destroyed.[5]  But it was an Iraqi propaganda coup, celebrated
with
 
       banner headlines and street demonstrations around the Arab world; after
two
 weeks of intensive aerial bombardment, Iraqi troops had emerged from their
 bunkers and gone on the attack.  Coalition briefers had to explain how the
 Iraqis had been able to launch an offensive--not just at Khafji, but at
 
          three other points along the Saudi-Kuwaiti border.  The military
reputation
 of the Saudi forces was at stake because Khafji was in their sector of the
 front.  It was important for inter-coalition politics to show that they
 
          were a capable military force so, with troops from the Gulf state of
Qatar,
 they were given the leading role in retaking the town.  At first, briefers
 said U.S. Marines provided only air support to the Arab forces.  They had
 
          to revise their story when pool pictures showed artillery in action;
later
 
          it emerged that Marines were involved in fighting on the ground.  The
 
       battle exposed weaknesses in the military information system.  Briefers
 
         announced that the town had been retaken then quickly had to admit that
 
         fighting was still going on; there were conflicting accounts of the
size
 
          and strength of the Iraqi force, and of the intensity of the fighting.
The
 confusion exacerbated already strained relations between the military
 
        command and the press corps.  Several print reporters and television
crews,
 frustrated by the military's refusal to provide access to the front,
 
       defied the pool system and went out on their own, facing arrest,
harassment
 and opposition from their colleagues in the pools.
 
        It was not until several days after the fighting ended that the basic
 
        elements of the battle became clear.  Over a three-day period, from
 
     Tuesday, January 29 to Thursday, January 31, Iraqi troops, tanks and
 
      armored vehicles crossed the Saudi border at several points between Khafji
 
          and Umm Hujul, 50 miles to the west.  It was not known whether these
were
 
          probing attacks, designed to discover the disposition of allied
forces, or
 
          the start of a full-scale Iraqi offensive.[6]  By the weekend, it
became clear
 that the attack on Khafji was merely part of a larger operation.  Along
 
          the entire Saudi-Kuwaiti border, Iraqi forces had been testing the
strength
 of the coalition's defenses.  Field commanders reported that a force of Ir
 
          aqi troops, initially estimated at 60,000, was massing at Al-Wafra, 37
 
        miles to the west of Khafji, and allied planes bombed armored brigades
and
 
          supply columns moving south.[7]  As Philip Taylor notes, the major
 
 confrontation at Wafra was "the 'hidden' battle, fought ferociously but far
 away from the television cameras which were focusing on the comparatively
 
          small skirmish at Al-Khafji."[8]
 
        In military terms, the battle for Khafji was, indeed, comparatively small,
 but in information terms it took on a larger significance.  Here for the
 
          first time, Iraqi ground forces were engaged with allied troops.  It
was
 
          essential for the coalition to achieve a quick, decisive victory with
 
       minimal casualties.  The allied commanders had always maintained they
would
 launch the ground war when they were good and ready to do so; it was
 
       important to regain the initiative and, perhaps, preempt a wider ground
off
 
          ensive.  "There was some embarassment," noted BSkyB News correspondent
 
        Aernout Van Lynden.  "The American commanders have kept on saying to us
 
         that they were not caught off guard ... but they haven't been able to
 
       explain how such a large number of Iraqis were able to get into
Khafji."[9]
 
          In fact, the initial force which took the town on the night of January
29
 
          was fairly small--a battalion of between 400 and 800 men with about 45
 
        vehicles--although the Iraqis sent in more troops and armor the next
day.
 
          Nonetheless, the military had to explain why the Iraqis were able to
enter
 
          and take the town with so little resistance.
 
        R'as al-Khafji, seven miles south of the Kuwaiti border, was "an unpretty
 
          border town with a small port, an oil refinery, and the misfortune of
lying
 within range of Iraqi field guns in southeastern Kuwait."[10]  The Iraqis had
 
          shelled the town on the first day of the war, January 17, forcing its
 
       15,000 inhabitants to flee.  The allies had observation posts in the area
 
          but the main force--the 1st Marine Division's Task Force Taro and Arab
 
        troops--was at Al-Mishab, 30 miles to the south and out of artillery
range.
  Since the beginning of the war, there had been sporadic clashes across
 
          the no man's land of barbed wire and minefields.  On January 29, U.S.
 
       surveillance teams noted increased movement across the border, including
 
          the repositioning of tanks and armored personnel carriers.  The Iraqis
had
 
          assembled several battalions in the so-called Wafra Forest, an area of
 
        fields and orchards 25 miles west of the Gulf, and at 8:30 p.m. an
American
 observer spotted the lead platoons emerging from the trees.  Within 15
 
         minutes, he counted nearly a hundred vehicles in column on the road
 
     paralleling the border.  The Marines tried to call in an air strike, but
 
          all available pilots had been diverted further west where another
Iraqi
 
         force was attempting to break through.  The Marines and Saudi border
troops
 and national guardsmen fell back to Khafji.  From a water tower, Marine
 
          observers watched Iraqi T-55 tanks and armored personnel carriers
cross the
 causeway leading into the town.  When the Iraqis began spraying rooftops
 
          and upper windows with machine gun fire to suppress snipers, the
Marines
 
          raced south out of the town.  However, two six-man Marine
reconnaissance
 
          teams were cut off by the Iraqi advance.  One had been in Khafji
nearly a
 
          week, watching for infiltrators and providing early warning of Iraqi
Scud
 
          and rocket attacks.  With their vehicles concealed and a machine gun
in
 
         place over the compound gate, they opted to stay and hope the Iraqis
did
 
          not discover them.[11]  The two Marine teams were ideally placed to
direct air
 
          and artillery strikes and were to play a crucial role in the allied
 
     counteroffensive.[12]
 
        The presence of the Marine observers was not revealed at the time--rightly
 so, because to do so would have put their lives in danger and deprived the
 allies of their eyes and ears in Khafji.  However, the military command,
 
          although aware that the Iraqis had occupied Khafji, was saying
nothing.
 
          Indeed, the first news of the attack came not from Riyadh or
Washington but
 from Baghdad--a report from the French news agency, Agence France Presse,
 
          on Wednesday, January 30, quoting an Iraqi military communique which
 
      announced that a "massive land offensive has been launched against
 
    Al-Khafji."    CNN attempted to confirm the French report, but over the
 
         next few hours the situation remained confused.  Shortly after 14:00
CNN
 
          quoted Baghdad Radio's claim that Iraqi troops had moved 12 miles into
"the
 kingdom of evil of Saudi Arabia," occupying Khafji.[13]  At a hurriedly called
 briefing in Riyadh, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Gallagher would say only that
 
          clashes had occurred at three places along the border the previous
night,
 
          and that "contact was broken off" early in the morning.  The Iraqis,
he
 
         said, had suffered heavy losses.  He gave no indication that fighting
was
 
          continuing and did not mention Khafji.[14]
 
        Even as Gallagher was making his announcement, it was contradicted by pool
 reports which revealed that "contact" was far from over.  This was the
 
         first indication that the information machine was beginning to falter
under
 the pressure of fast-moving events on the ground.  There was as yet no
 
         video from Khafji--CNN, Britain's BSkyB News and the American networks
were
 still showing stock footage of the town shot earlier in the week--but
 
        newspaper pool reporters were filing copy.  These reports, which would
have
 been cleared by the Joint Information Bureau in Dhahran, were at odds with
 its own official position.  In Riyadh, CNN's Rick Sallinger said: "We were
 told by the U.S. Central Command here a short time ago that the ground
 
         fighting had stopped as of three o'clock this morning.  However reports
 
         from the scene paint a quite different picture.  We understand that the
 
         fighting goes on ... with perhaps several thousand Iraqi troops still
in
 
          the area."  CNN's Charles Jaco, in a live report from Dhahran, quoted
a
 
         Gannett News Service pool report in which the Marines claimed to have
 
       destroyed 20 Iraqi T-55 tanks in fighting along the border; at least
eight
 
          men had been killed and two armored personnel carriers destroyed in
what
 
          Marine Lieutenant Colonel Cliff Myers called "hellacious" fighting.
The
 
          Iraqis were still in control of Khafji, but Saudi and Qatari forces
were
 
          counterattacking, with artillery support from the Marines who had
 
   established blocking positions south of the town.  Although the pool report
 had been filed several hours earlier, it indicated that the fighting was
 
          more intense and prolonged than Gallagher was saying.[15]  Saudi and
U.S.
 
       officials, said Jaco, "really aren't sure what the situation is up there.
 
          Obviously, somebody knows but they're not talking right now."  Indeed,
 
        there wasn't much at all he could say about military matters.  When a
burst
 of engine noise interrupted his live report, he wryly remarked: "Now
 
       behind me you hear a jet of some sort taking off--or landing--I'm not
 
       allowed to say which."[16]
 
        The reluctance to admit that fighting was still going on--let alone that
 
          the Iraqis had occupied Khafji--gave the initial propaganda advantage
to
 
          Baghdad.  For Saddam Hussein, it was important to convince sympathetic
and
 
          neutral Arab governments and their peoples that, despite two weeks of
air
 
          bombardment, Iraq's military strength and will to fight were
undiminished.
 The border attacks showed that the Iraqi army could come out of its deep
 
          defenses and engage the coalition forces on the ground.  Baghdad Radio
 
        reported that Saddam Hussein had travelled to the front to meet his
field
 
          commanders and had personally planned the advance which it heralded as
the
 
          start of "the long awaited ground offensive."  Iraq's Ba'ath party
 
    newspaper called the attack on Khafji the prelude to a greater battle, "the
 sign of a thunderous storm blowing over the Arabian desert," and a
 
     military communique claimed that "the corpses of American soldiers are
 
        littering the battlefield."[17]  The news was greeted with rejoicing and
 
      demonstrations in the Arab and Muslim world.  In a rally called by the
 
        pro-Iraqi Islamic Front in Algeria, 60,000 people marched in the rain
 
       shouting "Victory to Islam and the Muslims."[18]  In Jordan, 3,000 people
took
 
          to the streets shouting support for the Iraqi offensive; in Yemen,
 
    demonstrators fired on the residences of the American, Japanese and Turkish
 ambassadors; the Pakistani press claimed that Iraq had won a major land
 
          battle against allied forces.  Coalition member Egypt, with 45,000
troops
 
          in the Gulf, kept its universities closed to avoid protests.[19]
 
        The Western media was not slow to grasp that what appeared to be folly on
 
          the military front made sense on the propaganda front.  While military
 
        commanders "have a tendency to dismiss political goals in war, viewing
them
 as distractions from the serious business of combat," noted the New York
 
          Times, the Iraqi President "has other goals, mostly political and
 
   politico-military, and they were very well served by his troops' success in
 pushing into Khafji and hanging onto it for a day."  Time agreed: "Saddam
 
          Hussein may have figured it right if he was calculating that he could
win
 
          on the Arab street even while losing in the skies and the sands of the
 
        desert.  Each day that the allies throw their best punches at him and
leave
 him standing, Saddam's prestige among ordinary Arabs grows."  French
 
       television correspondent Jean-Luc Mano in Riyadh said the Iraqis hoped to
 
          "score some spectacular hits that would give them the opportunity to
claim
 
          victory, even if they were ephemeral."  The Times, quoting Arab
analysts,
 
          said the episode "could win Saddam a place in Arab folk legend," and
noted
 
          in an editorial: "The Iraqi attack on Khafji, militarily doomed as
Saddam
 
          Hussein knew it must be, well illustrates the difficulties of a land
war
 
          against a dictator for whom the desired mix of political and military
 
       outcomes is so different from that of the allies.  What mattered to
Saddam
 
          about this first ground battle was not how it ended, but how it would
seem
 
          to the world."[20]  On CNN, military analyst Richard Jupa noted:
"Remember,
 
         Saddam is playing hero-victim to the Arab peoples ... I do think this
is a
 
          sacrifice of major proportions [but] it is not necessarily viewed in
the
 
          Arab world the same way it is to Western audiences."  BBC Defense
 
   Correspondent David Shukman said that by capturing Khafji, if only
 
    temporarily, Saddam Hussein gained a "political advantage, giving his
 
       supporters an image of resistance."[21]
 
        Many Arabs regarded the Gulf War as an imperialist venture in which
 
      Western powers sought to restore their influence in the Middle East by
 
        defeating a nationalist Arab power.  Poorer Arab countries resented the
 
         wealth and power of Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Gulf states; these
 
      countries had turned against Iraq after supporting and financing Saddam
 
         Hussein's eight-year war with Iran.  The coalition's claims of a just
war
 
          to restore the legitimate government of Kuwait were often viewed as
 
     hypocritical; if the occupation of Kuwait was unjust, what about the
 
      long-standing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian homeland?  Islamic
 
        fundamentalists were deeply troubled that "fraternal" Muslim countries
were
 at war, and to some the presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil was
 
       intolerable.  Saudi Arabia's rulers had betrayed their trust as the
 
     guardians and protectors of the holy sites of Islam, putting money and
 
        power before religion.[22]  "The infidels must leave before they become
food
 
          for birds and corpses blown by the desert wind," declared Baghdad
Radio.
 
          Iraqi communiques were often couched in religious terms, portraying
the
 
         offensive as part of a jihad or holy war.
 
        The long awaited ground offensive has been launched, raising high the
 
        banner of       Allahu Akbar [God is Great.]  In their advance the Iraqi
forces
 
          have crushed the      forces of apostasy, forcing many to flee, cursing
 
     blasphemy and blasphemers.  Our    forces have penetrated about 20 kilometres
 along the front line into the enemy's  land and the evil kingdom of Saudi
 
          Arabia. ... The Almighty bestowed upon the    believers an astounding
victory
 when the blasphemy camp collapsed.  People of  Saudi Kingdom, people of
 
          Haj and Hejaz ... we are your brothers and you are    ours.  Both of us
stand
 unified now against blasphemers, crime and corruption  perpetrated by
 
        Bush, King Fahd and their collaborators.[23]
 
        This communique, quoted by CNN's Peter Arnett, reported that Iraqi troops
 
          had entered Khafji around midnight on January 29.  From a propaganda
 
      perspective, the timing was fortuitous because CNN had installed a
portable
 satellite uplink earlier in the day and had begun transmitting live
 
      pictures from Baghdad.  The communiques and pool reports indicated that
 
         there was more to the Iraqi offensive than the allies were saying.  Not
 
         until 15:30, more than two hours after the initial French report, did
the
 
          coalition acknowledge that fighting had been going on around Khafji.
The
 
          announcement came at the Saudi military briefing by Colonel Ahmed
 
   Al-Robayan who said that "a small mechanized Iraqi unit" had attacked the
 
          town the previous night.  How small, one reporter asked, referring to
 
       reports that the Iraqi force numbered 1,000 or more.  "I have no unit
size
 
          available," replied Al-Robayan.  The colonel refused to discuss other
Iraqi
 incursions along the border, adding enigmatically that "if there is any
 
          other activity, it would have been an ongoing operation that I cannot
talk
 
          about."  The Iraqis, he said, had suffered heavy casualties and 21
 
    prisoners of war had been taken; allied casualties were light.  Al-Robayan
 
          said that the "situation is under control," although he refused to
disclose
 whether Iraqi troops were still in the town.[24]  The briefing, in which the
 
          colonel also reviewed air sorties and naval action, lasted just seven
 
       minutes, leaving most of the reporters not much wiser than before.
Perhaps
 some of them complained, because within half an hour the U.S. Central
 
        Command held an unscheduled briefing in which Lieutenant Colonel Greg
Pepin
 reported four Iraqi cross-border incursions.  He said three had been
 
       repelled but that "latest reports indicate that Saudi forces are engaged
 
          [with] an Iraqi mechanized battalion in the vicinity of R'as
Al-Khafji."[25]
 
        One reason for the tension over Khafji was the fact that the media
 
     considered it more important than the military did.  "It all depends on
 
         which lens you look through," wrote R.W. Apple.  "The battle of Khafji
...
 
          was an insignificant Iraqi incursion easily thrown back, or a
demonstration
 of Arab prowess in battle, or evidence that the initiative now lies with
 
          Baghdad, or a warning that grim combat and heavy casualties lie ahead
for
 
          American ground troops here."[26]  To the press, it was the first
ground battle
 of the war; the Iraqis had advanced into Saudi territory, captured a town
 
          and, although reports were conflicting, could still be holding it.
 
     Coalition commanders saw it as a desperate gamble by Saddam Hussein to gain
 a propaganda advantage, and said it was doomed to failure.  By emerging
 
          from fortified bunkers in southern Kuwait, the Iraqis were simply
exposing
 
          themselves to aerial bombardment; in military terms, they had
everything to
 lose by coming out into the open.[27]  In Riyadh, commanders "competed to see
 
          who could be most dismissive of the battle."  Schwarzkopf called the
 
      fighting at Khafji "about as significant as a mosquito on an elephant."
 
          General Sir Peter de la Billiere, joint commander of the British
forces,
 
          described it as "a clear military disaster" for the Iraqis.  The
American
 
          Air Force chief, Lieutenant General Charles Horner, belittled Saddam
 
      Hussein's probe as "the stupidest thing he could do."  American briefer
 
         Brigadier General Patrick Stevens IV, who had vigorously denied that
the
 
          fighting was a major engagement, now called Khafji "a major Iraqi
defeat."
 The reversal, noted the New York Times, was "not isolated."  American
 
        spokesmen, including Lieutenant General Thomas Kelly, operations
director
 
          for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had cited Iraq's "failure to cross the
Saudi
 border as evidence of Mr. Hussein's weakness."  Now the military was sayin
 
          g that the cross-border incursions showed that the Iraqis were
desperate.[28]
 
          This shift in perspective helped to downplay the importance of Khafji.
 
         Indeed, of the four cross-border incursions, this was perhaps the least
 
         significant; more Iraqi troops and armor had been engaged at other
points.
 Moreover, Khafji had no strategic importance; it was an abandoned town
 
         with no troops, supplies or military targets.  Yet, partly because the
 
        military kept reporters away from the other engagements, partly because
 
         Khafji was a town and not simply an area of desert, the battle held the
 
         media's attention and dominated the briefings for three days.
 
        The allied commander-in-chief had other priorities.  At his nightly
 
      briefing on January 30, Schwarzkopf attempted to put the battle for Khafji
 
          in its proper place.  It was the end of the second week of the war and
the
 
          general, with a dazzling array of charts and videos, reeled off the
list of
 allied accomplishments.  He reported that coalition aircraft had flown
 
         over 30,000 sorties and established air supremacy,[29] and recounted
efforts to
 cut supply lines to Kuwait by bombing bridges in southern Iraq, attacks on
 nuclear, chemical and biological facilities and SCUD launchers, and the
 
          destruction of tanks and artillery.  Only towards the end of his
30-minute
 
          briefing did he discuss the cross-border incursions.  Schwarzkopf said
air
 
          strikes against the Iraqi columns had been effective with pilots
reporting
 
          "rather sensational losses"--the destruction of 41 tanks, seven
armored
 
         personnel carriers, four artillery and six bunker positions.  The
Marines
 
          had suffered casualties too--12 killed, two wounded and two light
armored
 
          vehicles destroyed.  Schwarzkopf conceded that the Iraqis had moved
into
 
          Khafji but was quick to dismiss the town as a strategic objective.  It
had
 
          been "abandoned and deserted since the first day of Desert Storm," and
Arab
 troops were moving in to expel the Iraqis.[30]
 
        From Schwarzkopf's standpoint, the news of the day was that the coalition
 
          had gained air supremacy and was cutting off supplies to Iraqi troops
in
 
          Kuwait.  On another day, the fact that Americans had been killed would
have
 dominated the briefing; interestingly, there were no questions about where
 and how they died.  Clearly, the allies regarded the cross-border
 
    incursions as a sideshow; by placing them towards the end of the
 
  briefing--between recaps of naval operations and attacks on SCUD
 
  sites--Schwarzkopf was simply placing them in their proper perspective.
 
          However, the press had a different agenda.  One reporter wondered how
Iraqi
 troops, under bombardment by B-52s and short on food and supplies, could
 
          make it 12 miles into Saudi territory.  "12 miles, six miles, it's
 
    irrelevant how far it is," replied Schwarzkopf, a little testily.  He went
 
          on to say that the Saudis had abandoned Khafji early in the war
because it
 
          was within range of Iraqi artillery.  "I wouldn't really say that the
 
       Iraqis had seized Khafji," he said.  "You know, when you walk into an
 
       uninhabited place, it's not really much of a seizure."  In contrast to
 
        earlier claims that the situation was under control, he added: "I would
 
         tell you I don't think that battle is over by a long shot. I expect a
lot
 
          more fighting will probably occur tonight."[31]  In downplaying the
 
 significance of the Iraqi occupation of Khafji, Schwarzkopf sought not only
 to allay concerns about the allied readinness to repel ground attacks, but
 to undercut Iraqi claims of an "astounding victory" which were gaining
 
         attention throughout the Arab world:
 
        I've already heard that it's being touted as a major military victory on
 
          the   battlefield.  You know, moving into an unoccupied village six
miles
 
          inside the    friendly lines when there's nobody there, I don't consider
that
 a major military       victory.  However, if they want to consider it one,
 
        that's fine.  It's just one battle,     it's not the war.[32]
 
        That position was echoed by other military briefers.  Stevens described
 
          the attack  as a "reconnaissance in force" to probe coalition border
 
      defenses.  "The action," he said, "has been described in certain news
 
       reports as a major invasion.  It certainly was nothing of the sort."  At
a
 
          Pentagon briefing, Lieutenant General Thomas Kelly was blunter.  "They
 
        drove down the road to an empty town, and said they took it. ... Their
goal
 might have been an internal morale goal--to say that we went into Saudi
 
          Arabia and were there for a period of time.  What they achieved was
pretty
 
          shabby--they didn't stay any time at all [and] they got kicked right
back
 
          across the border."[33]
 
        The military command had a point.  Apart from the Marine observers and
 
         some Saudi border guards, Khafji was deserted and undefended, with the
main
 forces to the south at Al-Mishab.  However, even if, as Schwarzkopf
 
      insisted, the allies were not taken by surprise, it was proving difficult
 
          to dislodge the Iraqis.  The tenacity of the resistance dented the
 
    confidence of those in the military and the media who believed that
 
     constant aerial bombardment and lack of supplies had sapped the Iraqi
 
       army's will to fight.  According to The Times, when news of the capture
of
 
          Khafji began to filter through, many Americans at the information
bureau in
 Dhahran "were visibly taken aback."  One officer, after hearing of two
 
         failed attempts to recapture the town, said: "This is a complicated
battle.
  I'm afraid that we are not doing as well as we should have been doing."[34]
 
          As a French observer cynically remarked: "I thought these Iraqi troops
were
 all supposed to be starving, lice-ridden and longing only to surrender.
 
          If that is the case, I hope the allies do not come up against any in
proper
 shape."  The allied commanders now warned against underestimating the
 
        Iraqi army; the attacks, said Schwarzkopf, indicated that "they
certainly
 
          have a lot of fight left in them."[35]
 
        About 15 minutes before Schwarzkopf began his briefing, the first pool
 
         video came in via satellite with CNN Defense Correspondent Wolf Blitzer
 
         delivering a live voice-over.  Marine artillery was shown firing rounds
 
         into Khafji, and Blitzer pointed out that the elevation of the guns
 
     indicated that they were at some distance from the town.  The long range
 
          may not have been a disadvantage because the Marine observers hidden
in
 
         Khafji were using their radios to direct artillery fire.  The video,
taken
 
          some 10 hours earlier, had apparently not been edited because the
Marines,
 
          struggling to unload shells from trucks, used some appropriate
expletives.
 The pool reporter was interviewing a battery sergeant who said his men
 
         were "pretty motivated" and "looking forward to shooting these rounds,"
 
         when an officer interrupted.  "Hey, lookee here, we've got two
unidentified
 vehicles up there on the front.  You keep an eye on what the fuck's going
 
          on."  And, turning to the camera, "Can you do this later, please?"[36]
 
        Although this was the first ground action of the war, air power performed
 
          a crucial role.  Marine aircraft flew 350 sorties in support of the
forces
 
          at Khafji, and  American B-52 bombers, British and French Jaguars and
 
       Marine Harrier jets bombarded Iraqi armored columns at other points along
 
          the Saudi border.  Initial reports by field commanders on January 31
 
      indicated that some 60,000 Iraqi troops were massing near Wafra, and the
 
          commander of a Marine Harrier squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Dick White,
said
 between 800 and 1,000 Iraqi vehicles had been seen moving south towards
 
          the border.  "There is no sign of the Iraqis retreating," added White,
who
 
          said he anticipated a "turkey shoot."[37]  By the next day, allied
officials
 
          had drastically revised their estimate; the Iraqi force was now said
to
 
         number about 8,000.  However, there is no doubt the Iraqis suffered
heavy
 
          losses under almost continual air bombardment.  Simon Clifford, a pool
rep
 
          orter with the British Fourth Armored Brigade, said he watched all day
as
 
          B-52s pounded a 10-mile long Iraqi column, and quoted intelligence
reports
 
          that 100 tanks had been destroyed.  Despite clouds and some fog,
allied
 
         pilots flew 2,600 sorties.[38]  "There were so many aircraft out
there," said a
 Marine officer who watched as planes attacked the Iraqis, "that it was
 
         like standing on the median of an interstate."  Pilots told a similar
 
       story.  Back from a bombing mission, Lieutenant Colonel White said
 
    laconically: "I would certainly not want to be an Iraqi troop [sic] out
 
         there.  Aircraft are swarming over that battlefield like gnats.  ... I
 
        think my biggest danger up there today was running into another American
 
          aircraft delivering ordnance on target."[39]  The Iraqi decision to
leave
 
       fortified positions created "such an array of vulnerable targets for
 
      American pilots that some on short-range attack missions are hardly able
to
 believe their luck," wrote Christopher Walker in The Times.  White called
 
          it a "golden opportunity" but said he was puzzled by what seemed to be
an
 
          almost suicidal switch in Iraqi tactics.  "[I]t is almost like you
flipped
 
          on the light in the kitchen late at night and the cockroaches start
 
     scurrying and we are killing them," he said.  "It is exactly what we have
 
          been looking for and it looks to me like Saddam has lost his
marbles."[40]
 
         The precise role of American forces in the battle for Khafji may never be
 known, but it was certainly greater than the allies were ready to admit.
 
          The attempt to portray the recapture of Khafji as a victory for
coalition
 
          Arab forces and to downplay the American contribution had three
objectives:
 to shore up inter-coalition politics, to boost the morale of the Arab
 
        troops, and to demonstrate the resolve and unity of the coalition to the
 
          Arab world.  Khafji lay within the eastern sector of the front
controlled
 
          by Arab forces.  Saddam Hussein "clearly wanted to test the mettle" of
 
        these forces.  "If he could rout them, sending them fleeing from the
area,"
 said The Times, "he could have claimed it was proof that the real war was
 
          between Iraq and the United States, not a coalition of Western and
Arab
 
         nations."[41]  Although Khafji was deserted, the Iraqi occupation was
an
 
      embarassment to the Saudi High Command.  As Aernout Van Lynden of BSkyB
 
         News put it: "It was the Saudi and Qatari forces who were defending
this
 
          town, true only with their lightly armed forces, but it's not been
 
    explained why the Iraqis were able to get in quite as easy [sic] as they
 
          did."[42]  As a partial explanation, the Saudis came up with a story
of Iraqi
 
          deception.  Iraqi tanks had approached their positions with their
turrets
 
          pointing backwards and the drivers raising their hands in the air in a
sign
 of surrender.  When Saudi soldiers went forward to greet them, they shot
 
          at them and turned their turrets to open fire on the town, forcing the
 
        Arabs to abandon their positions.[43]  The Saudi and Qatari forces
should have
 
          the honor of avenging the treachery and retaking the town; if the
Marines
 
          led the counter-offensive, it would give the impression that either
the
 
         Arab troops did not want to fight--or that the allied commanders would
not
 
          let them.  Indeed, there were real, if never publicly voiced, doubts
about
 
          the capability of these troops.  "Many Americans," writes Atkinson,
 
     "suspected the Saudis incapable of serious fighting, much less ousting the
 
          Iraqi army from a occupied town; Saudi soldiers were viewed ... as
 
    indolent, barefoot tea drinkers relying on the Marines for protection."[44]
 
          That view was to be put to the test, as Saudi and Qatari troops were
given
 
          the most visible role in the operation.
 
        There are differing assessments of how well the Arab forces performed
 
        against an estimated force of 600 Iraqis.  On Wednesday evening, several
 
          armored companies of Saudis and Qataris with Marine support tried to
move
 
          up the main north-south road in a probing mission to determine the
strength
 and disposition of the Iraqis.  According to Atkinson, the operation "had
 
          all the finesse of a cavalry charge.  The Arab troops careered through
the
 
          streets of southern Khafji for several hours, shooting at enemies,
real and
 imagined, as well as at one another."  The Iraqis fired back "with equal
 
          indiscrimination," and the allied force withdrew just after midnight.
At
 
          least one allied light armored vehicle was set on fire.[45]  The Arab
forces
 
          regrouped.  Two Qatari tank companies moved north to block Iraqi
 
  reinforcements; with the Marines in the town acting as spotters, allied
 
         forces attacked Iraqi positions with heavy artillery, Cobra helicopters
and
 fixed-wing aircraft while the Saudis advanced into southern Khafji.
 
       "Again, the attack resembled a Wild West shootout, although with
automatic
 
          weapons fire and tracers rather than six-shooters," writes Atkinson.
 
       "Brave but impetuous, with little thought of clearing the city block by
 
         block, the Saudis darted haphazardly through the streets, firing over
one
 
          another with heavy machine guns."  An Iraqi anti-tank missile struck a
 
        Saudi personnel carrier, killing six and wounding three.  The fighting
 
        continued through the night, with intermittent aerial bombardment.  By
 
        early morning, the allies were in control of most of the town although
 
        fighting continued for several more hours,  with Iraqi snipers putting
up
 
          last-ditch resistance.[46]  About 30 Iraqi soldiers were killed and
466 taken
 
          prisoner, including 37 wounded; seven tanks and nine armored personnel
 
        carriers were destroyed.  The Saudis and Qataris lost 19 dead and 36
 
      wounded, some of whom may have been victims of 'friendly fire.'[47]  Many
of
 
          the casualties occurred in fierce house-to-house fighting.
Christopher
 
         Walker of The Times described the scene after the battle:
 
        In the southern suburbs, it was apparent that the Iraqis had sprung
 
      several   successful ambushes on the advancing Saudi and Qatari armour.
The
 badly  charred body of a Saudi soldier lay in the seat of a still
 
    smouldering armoured        personnel carrier while a second victim lay half in,
 
          half out of the vehicle.  ...         Elsewhere, the streets were strewn
with
 
         dead camels, twisted lampposts and lumps       of concrete from devastated
 
       buildings.[48]
 
        Despite pool footage and reports which indicated that the Marines had
 
        engaged the Iraqis on the ground, most media initially went along with
the
 
          official line that American support was limited to air--or, at most,
air
 
          and artillery--support.  As the counter-offensive began, CNN's Rick
 
     Sallinger in Riyadh reported that "[w]hile the Marines are not involved in
 
          the ground combat, they are providing important air and artillery
support"
 
          while Charles Jaco in Dhahran said that the Marines had "set up a
perimeter
 
          , using artillery and anti-tank weapons."[49]  Clearly, the situation
was
 
       confused.  Narrating the pool video which showed Marine artillery in
 
      action, Wolf Blitzer said that Saudi and other Arab forces were leading
the
 offensive.  At his Wednesday briefing, Schwarzkopf also described it as a
 
          Saudi operation and refused to be drawn on the U.S. military role:
"There's
 enough American troops where we need them to do the job, and that's about
 
          all I'd like to say on that."[50]  But what job were they doing?
 
        At the U.S. military briefing on Thursday, Stevens announced that Arab
 
         forces had retaken the town with support from Cobra helicopters but, he
 
         stressed, "[n]o Marine ground units were engaged in Khafji."  This
 
    statement was clearly at odds with pool reports and video which showed
 
        artillery batteries in action, and Marines firing TOW anti-tank missiles
 
          and moving in and out of the town on foot and in armored vehicles.  A
 
       reporter pressed Stevens: "[Y]ou said that the only U.S. forces engaged
in
 
          support of the Saudis and Qataris in retaking Khafji were U.S. Marine
Corps
 Cobra helicopters.  Pool reports and pool pictures showed us artillery
 
         support, armored vehicles, Humvees--apparently a fair amount of
activity
 
          ... Can you help us clarify this?"  Stevens suggested that the
reporter was
 confusing the battle for Khafji with the other border actions in which
 
         Marine ground units were involved.  The operation, he repeated, was "a
 
        coalition action without ground U.S. troops involved."  The reporter
 
      persisted: "How involved is involved?"  "Well, to my knowledge involved is
 
          exactly what it means," replied Stevens.  "U.S. forces were not
engaged in
 
          that action."[51] The New York Times, noting the discrepancy, said
that Stevens
 was "[c]learly trying to put Arab troops in the spotlight for political
 
          purposes."[52]  CNN, reporting the Saudi victory, stated that "[n]o
U.S. Marine
 ground units were actively involved inside the city of Khafji which is
 
         located in a zone controlled by Saudi forces."  Although the Marines
had
 
          taken up holding positions around Khafji, reported Aernout Van Lynden
of
 
          BSkyB News, "the Americans are adamant they didn't participate in the
 
       fighting and didn't suffer any casualties."  The BBC reported that the
town
 had been liberated in house-to-house fighting by Saudi and Qatari forces
 
          under the personal leadership of Prince Khalid bin Sultan and that
"[n]o
 
          other allied ground forces were involved."[53]
 
        However, a note of caution was beginning to creep into the reporting.  The
 BBC reported that in addition to Cobra helicopters, the Arab forces were
 
          supported by Marine artillery and British ground attack Jaguars.  And
the
 
          statement that no other allied ground forces were involved was almost
 
       immediately contradicted by pool footage which showed Marines firing from
 
          behind a wall and taking cover from incoming fire.  A Marine
interviewed by
 pool reporter Jeremy Thompson of ITN said his patrol came under fire when
 
          it entered the town: "All of a sudden we just started taking rounds
... my
 
          team leader was there, he was walking outside the vehicle.  He had to
hit
 
          the deck." The Marines, said Thompson, "knew they had been in a
fight."[54]
 
          NBC's Brad Willis, the pool reporter for the American television
networks,
 
          interviewed a Marine lieutenant who had led reconnaissance patrols in
and
 
          out of the city and had come under small arms fire.  Their outpost was
 
        apparently within range too, because as the lieutenant discussed the
 
      possibility of starving out the Iraqis, two explosions occurred behind
him.
  "Think we're taking some fire here," he said.  BBC correspondent Justin
 
          Webb stated that "American Marine units were heavily involved from the
o
 
         utset."  At one point, a Marine reconnaissance unit had gone missing
after
 
          driving into an Iraqi-held area and a rescue mission was abandoned
when two
 Iraqi armored vehicles approached.  The missing Marines were eventually
 
          found.[55]  When the American network news programs aired about two
hours
 
       later, the once officially invisible Marine ground units had taken, if
not
 
          center stage, then almost equal billing with the Arab forces.  "Allied
 
        forces retake the Saudi town of Khafji after stiff Iraqi resistance,"
 
       announced Tom Brokaw, introducing the NBC Evening News, "and American
 
       Marines are in the thick of the fighting."  Over the same footage the BBC
 
          had used, Brad Willis said the Marines "were in a firefight with Iraqi
 
        forces inside the city.  For hours in our position just south of the
city
 
          gates incoming rounds pounded closer and closer."  One of the Marines
who
 
          went on the abortive mission to rescue the reconnaissance team said:
"[W]e
 
          were following the Saudis' assault ... and when we got to the gates of
the
 
          city it was just like all hell broke loose, tracers flying
everywhere."[56]
 
          The discrepancies between reports from Khafji and official statements
from
 
          Riyadh led BBC Defense Correspondent David Shukman to note that there
were
 
          unanswered questions "about the extent of American help in the
liberation
 
          of Khafji."  While pool footage showed Marine artillery supporting the
 
        Saudis and Qataris, "from Allied headquarters it was only confirmed that
 
          U.S. aircraft were involved.  That's either an error or an attempt to
give
 
          the Arab forces a greater share of the credit."[57]
 
        Although there were certainly errors, the latter is the more plausible
 
         explanation.  Patrick Bishop of The Times, who was with the 1st Marine
 
        Division, reported that their deployment in blocking positions south of
the
 town was "a move at least partially dictated by political considerations."
  He quoted Captain John Borth, commander of an anti-tank platoon: "I know
 
          that we've been pretty much ordered to stay away from the town.  This
is
 
          going to be a Saudi-Qatari mission."  Another Marine colonel stated:
"This
 
          was their battle.  We tried to stay out of the picture as much as
 
   possible."[58]  Khafji was a vindication for the Saudis, who had been "stung
by
 widespread suggestions in Europe and the United States in recent months
 
          that they lacked the will to fight for their homeland," wrote R.W.
Apple.
 
          Colonel Jack Petri, the U.S. Army liaison with the Saudis, said: "This
was
 
          the first battle the Saudis had ever fought, and they acquitted
themselves
 
          terribly well."[59]  Chris Hedges of the New York Times wrote that the
battle
 
          "has thrown into doubt the quality of Iraqi soldiers and sent the
morale of
 the Arab allies, who have often taken a back seat to the American and
 
        British forces, skyward."  As a Qatari tank commander put it: "We are
very
 
          proud.  This was the first time our army has seen combat and we have
been
 
          victorious.  People in the Arab world only know about us because of
our
 
         soccer teams.  Now they will know us for our fighting ability."[60]
 
          The new hero of the hour was the commander of the coalition Arab forces,
 the Saudi general Prince Khalid bin Sultan.  As mopping-up operations
 
        continued, the Saudi Air Force flew reporters to a nearby base where
Khalid
 congratulated his troops, and awarded a medal to a Saudi pilot who had
 
         shot down two Iraqi planes.  "The morale of my troops after this fight
is
 
          just great," said Khalid.  Although he appeared to dismiss the
significance
 of the Iraqi attack--"I think it was a suicide mission for them"--Khalid
 
          simultaneously described it as "the biggest land battle" of the war in
 
        which the Arab forces "gained a lot."  In their flight from Khafji, the
 
         Iraqis had abandoned equipment and ammunition.[61]  Clearly, if the
media was
 
          not prepared to accept the official line that Khafji was a minor
 
  action--"about as significant as a mosquito on an elephant" in
          Schwarzkopf's much quoted phrase--then a different script would have
to be
 
          written in which it became a major victory for the coalition Arab
forces.
 
        The tenacity of the resistance confirmed the coalition line that the Iraqi
 army would be no pushover if and when the ground war began.  Military
 
        commanders, noted the BBC's Justin Webb, "have learned one important
 
      lesson--that Iraqi front line troops can fight and fight hard."[62]
However,
 
          the action raised questions about the effectiveness of the Arab forces
 
        which, despite air and artillery support, had taken longer than expected
to
 drive out the Iraqis.  Among the lessons of the battle, said The Times,
 
          were "the problems of communication and command between the American
and
 
          other allied forces [and] the relative unreliability of the Saudi
army."
 
          Asked by Tom Brokaw whether the Americans would continue to allow Arab
 
        forces to "take the lead in these kinds of battles," NBC correspondent
 
        Arthur Kent pointed out that "one of the prime rules is never to allow
an
 
          attacking force to gain positions of sanctuary and a defensible
position in
 a place like Khafji."  Because of this, said Kent, "the Saudi participa
 
         tion must be under review."[63]  As the battle went on, Schwarzkopf, in
an
 
        interview with CNN correspondent John Sweeney, explained that Iraqi
 
     resistance "was a little bit heavier than what they [the Saudis] thought it
 was going to be, so they're bringing up some more troops but they're in
 
          the process of reoccupying the town right now."  In his briefing the
 
      previous evening, Schwarzkopf had relegated Khafji to the status of a
 
       "village."  That was "patently inaccurate," said The Times; Tony Clifton
of
 Newsweek said it was "like calling Cleveland a hamlet."  Now Schwarzkopf
 
          more accurately described it as "fairly large" (its prewar population
was
 
          about 15,000) to help account for the delay in recapturing it.  Then
he
 
         added: "It's also rolling terrain and there's some hills in there ...
so
 
          it's not the type of place you just drive right into."[64]  No,
indeed, but not
 because of the lay of the land.  Khafji lies on the flat expanse of the
 
          Gulf coastal plain on the edge of the desert; there are sand dunes on
the
 
          outskirts but no hills.  The commander-in-chief was constructing a
 
    geographical fiction to help explain the problems in retaking the town.
 
          Anyone who looked at a map, or saw the pool video from Khafji, would
have
 
          searched in vain for rolling terrain, but Schwarzkopf's assertion went
 
        unchallenged at the time.
 
        The most revealing coverage of the battle for Khafji came not from the
 
         pool reporters but from pool busters--journalists who circumvented the
 
        official system and made their own way to the fighting.  The pool system
 
          had been devised by the Pentagon after complaints from news
organizations
 
          that they were prevented from covering the American invasion of
Grenada in
 
          1983.  In Fall 1990, when war seemed likely in the Gulf, Pete
Williams,
 
         Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, met with the bureau
chie
 
          fs of the major television networks, newspapers, magazines and news
 
     agencies to work out a pool system.  On several occasions, Williams said
 
          that the Pentagon did not want to make the pools permanent or issue an
 
        extensive set of rules on coverage.  "We want to go unilateral as soon
as
 
          possible," he said, indicating that the pools would be a stopgap until
full
 coverage was feasible.  However, in mid-December Williams issued an
 
      elaborate list of guidelines.  Some minor changes were made after news
 
        organizations complained, but the pool and escort system remained.[65]
 
        News organizations sent more than 750 staff members to Saudi Arabia to
 
         cover the war, but most were what John Fialka later rather unkindly
 
     referred to as "hotel warriors"--based in Riyadh or Dhahran, dependent on
 
          military briefings and reports from their colleagues in the pools for
 
       information.[66]  Journalists, noted Time, had been "griping about the
pool
 
         system since before the war started."[67]  Reporters who protested were
 
     frustrated; the Pentagon said changes could be made only with approval of
 
          the military command in the Gulf while the briefers in Riyadh referred
 
        complaints to the Pentagon.  There were only 126 slots in the American
 
        pools but even this number was misleading, because many were taken by
 
       photographers, videographers and technicians.  Less than 30 were assigned
 
          to cover the six Army and two Marine divisions on the Kuwaiti and
Iraqi
 
         borders.  Several pools, said R.W. Apple, "have done little but sit
around
 
          hotels in Dhahran and Riyadh, while others have visited only airbases
far
 
          behind the lines or ships in the Persian Gulf."[68]  Colonel William
Mulvey,
 
          head of the Joint Information Bureau in Dhahran, promised to increase
the
 
          number of pools and improve access, but cited problems--the
unwillingness
 
          of some commanders to accept reporters, a shortage of helmets and flak
 
        jackets, and difficulties in transportation and communication.  Mulvey,
 
         according to the New York Times, "has lost the confidence of the press
 
        corps as the days have rolled by with no major change, and questions
have
 
          mounted about the fairness of the entire system."  Some American
divisions
 
          had no pool reporters and "several middle-ranking field commanders,
eager
 
          for publicity, have told correspondents that they are welcome if they
can
 
          find some means to get around the pool system and ground rules."
Military
 
          officials said the pool system was intended to provide access while
 
     avoiding the nightmare of hundreds of journalists trying to reach the front
 lines at once.  "Having reporters running around would overwhelm the
 
       battlefield," said Mulvey.[69]
 
        However, for some journalists, running around seemed to be the only way to
 get the story.  "Hampered by a pool arrangement that restricts them
 
      largely to specified trips arranged by military officials," said Time,
 
        "correspondents grew restless--and reckless."  By the end of the second
 
         week of the war, journalists based in Hafer Al-Batin in northwestern
Saudi
 
          Arabia were driving out to reach American, British and Arab units
operating
 in the border area.  "Increasingly, wrote John Kifner of the New York
 
        Times, "frustrated journalists who are unable to get a spot in the pools
 
          ... have started 'freelancing'--driving out independently in rented
 
     vehicles outside pool guidelines in hopes of hooking up with troops or
 
        seeing action."[70]  Some painted military insignia on their vehicles
and wore
 
          military uniforms; although this helped them get through military road
 
        blocks, it also increased their chances of being mistaken for combatants
by
 the Iraqis.  Not that the Iraqis posed the only physical threat.  One
 
        veteran news agency photographer spent more than six hours in the desert
 
          surrounded by six armed Marines who threatened to shoot him if he left
his
 
          car.  "We have orders from above to make this pool system work," one
of the
 officers explained.  Some U.S. soldiers at road blocks were ordered to
 
         remove a wheel from journalists' cars until Saudi security forces
arrived
 
          to take them away.  In another incident, the Alabama National Guard
 
     blindfolded and held a photographer for 30 hours, and challenged him to
 
         name the Governor of New York, among other questions, to prove he was
not
 
          an Iraqi spy.  Although there were no formal penalties for defying the
pool
 system, U.S. military officials reported offenders to the Saudi
 
  authorities, who temporarily revoked press credentials and visas.  When
 
         Chris Hedges of the New York Times, who had been detained for five
hours
 
          after trying to obtain an interview at an American military hospital,
 
       showed up to recover his press credentials, he was told: "You have an
 
       attitude problem."[71]
 
        The most celebrated instance of freelancing occurred on January 21 when
 
          CBS correspondent Bob Simon and his three-man crew strayed across the
 
       Saudi-Kuwaiti border and were captured and held by the Iraqis until the
end
 of the war.  The incident seemed to support the military's contention that
 the pool system was necessary to provide protection for journalists in a
 
          vast area of few roads and fewer road signs where Iraqi patrols might
be
 
          operating.  Although the experience of the CBS crew was seen by some
as a
 
          sober warning to play by the rules, other journalists continued to go
 
       unilateral.  "The last thing Bob Simon would want," said John King of the
 
          Associated Press, "is for us to stop covering the war because he
 
  disappeared."[72]
 
        King was one of the journalists who made their way into Khafji while the
 
          fighting was going on.  It was these reporters, said the New York
Times,
 
          "who got there on their own, in violation of the Pentagon ground
rules,"
 
          who provided "the best accounts of the fighting at Khafji."  Pool
reporters
 with the 1st Marine Division were not allowed into Khafji until 18 hours
 
          after the fighting started.  Tony Clifton of Newsweek described the
 
     experience of one "quick reaction" pool which arrived in Khafji in pitch
 
          darkness, was given access to the Saudi commander for 10 minutes, then
 
        whisked off "to see Iraqi prisoners."  Fifteen miles into the desert,
their
 bus broke down, and it was an hour before the almost frozen reporters were
 picked up.  Early reports came mostly from the freelancers and they added
 
          to the confusion over the scale of the battle and the role of the
Marines.[73]
 King watched as the Arab forces fought to retake the town: "The pools did
 
          not get an accurate view because they didn't see it.  They wrote that
the
 
          Saudi and Qatari troops liberated the city, but they had no realistic
view
 
          of how long it took, what happened or how many Iraqis were in
there."[74]  As
 
          Apple noted, pool reporters were kept away from the fighting "so they
had
 
          to quote staff officers far from the scene, who glorified Saudi and
Qatari
 
          troops for political purposes, and understated the fierceness of Iraqi
 
        resistance."[75]  These journalists had to contend not only with the
American
 
          and Saudi military, but with their own colleagues in the pools who
feared
 
          their behavior would lead to increased restrictions.  A French TV crew
that
 arrived on the outskirts of Khafji was greeted by angry shouts from pool
 
          reporters.  According to producer Alain Debos, the crew was forced at
 
       gunpoint by Marines to hand over footage it had taken of a wounded
American
 soldier.  NBC's Brad Willis, a member of a Marine pool, reportedly had
 
         military officials order out other journalists who had reached the
scene on
 their own.[76]
 
        The best footage of the battle came from two French TV crews and a team
 
          from Britain's Visnews, which were in Khafji well before the pools
arrived,
 but little of this was seen on American television.  French television
 
         viewers, by contrast, saw scenes of destruction in Khafji which
suggested
 
          the intensity and confusion of the battle.  As explosions lit up the
night
 
          sky, correspondent Patrick Bourrat said it was impossible to
distinguish
 
          who was firing.  In the early morning, his crew followed Saudi and
Qatari
 
          tanks into the town.  They found the wreckage of a Saudi armored
personnel
 
          carrier, hit by an anti-tank missile, and an abandoned Iraqi tank
 
   transporter.  Standing near the giant archway at the entrance to the town,
 
          Bourrat reported that "the battle raged all night."  The Saudi army,
he
 
         added, "does not know whether there are still several hundred Iraqis
inside
 Khafji."  Artillery shells were hitting a water tower where, Bourrat said,
 Iraqi snipers could be sheltering.  As a Marine reconnaissance team ran
 
          for cover, the crew headed out of the town, returning after the Arab
troops
 had regained control.  Their footage indicated the scale and intensity of
 
          the fighting--the wreckage of tanks, armored personnel carriers and
other
 
          vehicles, some still burning, shattered buildings, and abandoned
 
  ammunition.[77]
 
        Bourrat and his crew had evaded military checkpoints to enter Khafji while
 the fighting was still going on.  Indeed, some of the most resourceful and
 successful pool-busting came from French reporters.  French television
 
         coverage was markedly different in tone from that seen in the United
States
 and Britain--partly because of what some saw as a lukewarm commitment to
 
          the coalition (Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement resigned in a
 
       dispute over war objectives), and partly because of sensitivity to
France's
 large Arab population and historic ties to North Africa, where there was
 
          much pro-Iraqi sentiment.[78]  The French government was, if anything,
even
 
         more mistrustful of its press than the Americans and British, and
placed
 
          strict limits on access to the French forces.  The new Defense
Minister,
 
          Pierre Joxe, was decidedly unsympathetic to a group of television
 
   correspondents who petitioned for more access to the French military and
 
          "the same rights as our British and American colleagues enjoy."
Pointing
 
          out that France, unlike the United States and Britain, did not require
 
        correspondents to submit their despatches for clearance, he replied
 
     frostily: "This request for censorship will be considered."[79]  There were
no
 
          places for French correspondents in the American and British pools, so
it
 
          is hardly surprising that they defied the system.  As Steve Anderson,
a
 
         producer for BBC2's Newsnight program, put it in an interview after the
 
         war: "No system of military censorship has yet been devised that can
thwart
 the French freelance.  Wherever you go, wherever you think you're striking
 out first, the French freelance is always there, and [has] been there for
 
          a week.  ... I don't know what it is about the French but they always
do it
 ... [they] don't play by the rules."[80]  With some exceptions, said his
 
       colleague Mark Urban, American reporters meekly accepted the military
 
       information system:
 
        The Americans, I just found their behavior extraordinary, really.  They
 
          weren't       testing the system.  They weren't behaving as great truth
 
    crusaders; they were        sitting in Riyadh, winging [it].  Amazing behavior
 
          from the Americans.  The      people who were up and down the road, Khafji
or
 
          Hafer [Al-Batin] or whatever,         every day, were the Brits and French.
I
 
         mean everywhere you went there would   be some bloody mad Frenchman.  I
mean
 the French were constantly tearing the         arse out of it and they sort of
 
          refused to go into the pool arrangement.  They        were brilliant, which
I
 
         think may be carrying it a bit far in the other direction.[81]
 
        The battle of Khafji placed severe strains on the coalition information
 
          system--and found it wanting.  In the first two weeks of the war, the
 
       military had been relatively successful in controlling the flow of
 
    information.  Apart from minor border skirmishes and naval operations, all
 
          the action was in the air over Iraq and Kuwait.  Reporters had to rely
on
 
          briefings and occasional interviews with pilots for information and,
 
      although they may have felt they were not getting the whole story, they
had
 no alternative; no one planned to fly alongside B-52s on bombing missions.
  The nature of the war changed with the attack on Khafji.  The
 
 inaccessible air war was, for a few days, replaced by a ground battle that
 
          was within driving distance for enterprising reporters.  R.W. Apple
 
     predicted that "the pool system may be on the verge of collapse."[82]
 
        The military command knew its relations with the media were deteriorating.
  In the days before Khafji, the tone of the briefings "grew testy, as
 
        tight-lipped officers evaded questions as simple as what the weather was
 
          like over Iraq."  Often, noted the New York Times, "information is
witheld
 
          at the briefing when reporters in the field, working under de facto
 
     censorship, have nonetheless written or broadcast it."  Some correspondents
 who had worked in Vietnam even compared the briefings unfavorably to the
 
          so-called "Five o'Clock Follies" in Saigon because less information
was
 
         available.  "It's incredible," said Richard Pyle of the Associated
Press,
 
          "but I find myself longing for the give-and-take of the follies."[83]
Tensions
 increased as briefers fielded questions about discrepancies between
 
      official statements on the fighting at Khafji and accounts from pool
 
      reporters and unilaterals.  On February 1, "the mood in the briefing room
 
          turned so sour" that Schwarzkopf, who was watching on television,
called in
 journalists to listen to their complaints.  According to the New York
 
        Times, he was "fearful that the briefings ... would begin to affect
public
 
          opinion if permitted to degenerate into wrangling sessions."[84]  On
February
 
          3, new arrangements were announced.  The military agreed to hold a
morning
 
          background briefing and a question-and-answer session after the
televised
 
          evening briefing.  The objective was to provide more freedom for
briefers
 
          to answer questions because the sessions would not be televised and
the
 
         officers would not be identified.  Stevens, who had become visibly
 
    uncomfortable dealing with questions, was replaced by the more telegenic
 
          Major-General Robert Johnston.  Schwarzkopf and other commanders began
to
 
          grant more personal interviews.[85]
 
        Nine days later, the military announced that it was increasing the number
 
          of pools assigned to cover U.S. ground forces.  Of the 15 American
pools,
 
          only two were regularly assigned to the Army and Marines; most visited
 
        ships in the Persian Gulf and air force bases.  Captain R.E. Wildermuth
of
 
          the Navy, the chief public information officer in the Gulf, said that
five
 
          pools, with seven members each, would be reassigned to ground forces
within
 a week--three to Army units, and two to the Marine Amphibious Force.
 
        "This is a response to the complaints of the press corps, who have
brought
 
          to our attention the inadequacies of the current system," he said.
The
 
         changes were welcomed by pool reporters, but they did little to meet
the
 
          concerns of hundreds of other journalists who remained dependent on
 
     briefings and pool reports.[86]  The latter inevitably gave the war an
 
    Anglo-American slant, because pool slots were reserved for British and
 
        American news organizations.  On February 12, 300 journalists from 23
 
       countries (but none from Britain and the United States) signed an open
lett
 
          er to King Fahd and the allied commanders warning that unless access
was
 
          improved they would attempt to defy restrictions:
 
        Frustration about the system is reaching crisis point among international
        journalists. ... Our understanding of this military conflict is that it is
 carried
        out under the auspices of the United Nations.  However, the clear
 
    impression here     is that Americans and the American military are in total
 
          command of the        situation, including the movement of foreign nationals
on
 
          sovereign Saudi       territory.[87]
 
        Frustration was also reaching crisis point in the French press corps.  On
 
          February 12, the U.S. military asked the Saudi government to deport
four
 
          French unilaterals who had evaded road blocks to enter Khafji.  A week
 
        later, the Mitterand government, outraged by a TF1 interview with French
 
          soldiers who claimed they did not know why they were in the Gulf but
said
 
          that it might have been to fight for oil, banned TV crews from the
front.
 
          French TV correspondents threatened to boycott war coverage and the
army
 
          relented, agreeing to let journalists accompany ground forces.[88]
Settling
 
          the dispute quickly was vital, notes Taylor, because "the last thing
the
 
          coalition wanted or needed was undue media attention being afforded to
the
 
          position of the French ground forces as they moved secretly into
position
 
          for the ground war, given that the French Daguet Force was in fact to
 
       spearhead one of the main western thrusts into southern Iraq."[89]
 
        On February 24, the real ground war began.  On the eastern flank, the
 
        media heroes of Khafji, the Arab forces, broke through and liberated
Kuwait
 City, although most of the Iraqi troops left before they arrived.  To the
 
          west, American, British, French and other Arab forces moved swiftly
into
 
          Kuwait and southern Iraq.  The pool system collapsed, as Apple
predicted it
 would; defying a warning from Saudi authorities that any unescorted
 
      journalist found within 100 kilometres of the war zone would be arrested a
 
          nd deported, reporters drove north to keep up with the rapidly moving
 
       offensive.  On February 26, Iraq announced that it was withdrawing from
 
         Kuwait and the next day agreed to comply with all U.N. resolutions.
 
      President Bush declared victory and ordered an end to the offensive;
 
      Schwarzkopf and his staff met with Iraqi commanders on March 3 to agree to
 
          a permanent ceasefire.  The fears expressed in the aftermath of Khafji
of a
 long and costly ground war proved unfounded; the Iraqi army had been
 
       rapidly and decisively defeated.
 
        Although the battle of Khafji became little more than a footnote in the
 
          military campaign, its significance in the information war should not
be
 
          underestimated.  It tested the military information system, exposing
 
      problems in the briefings and pool system; there were serious
discrepancies
 between official statements and accounts by pool reporters and freelancers
 on the location and intensity of the fighting, and the roles of the
 
      Marines and Arab forces.  Concerned about public perception, the military
 
          moved quickly to reform the system and improve access.  Although
allied
 
         commanders worked hard to downplay the significance of Khafji, it gave
Iraq
 a brief propaganda victory and proved a source of embarassment for the
 
         coalition.  As one veteran American pool reporter remarked: "Whatever
 
       anyone tells you on the TV, the script for this war was not supposed to
 
         open with the Iraqis taking a town inside Saudi Arabia and holding it
long
 
          enough for the news to get all around the Arab world."[90]
 
Acknowledgements:
 
The most comprehensive collection of television coverage is at the
 
    University of Leeds Institute of Communication Studies.  One week before
 
          the Gulf War began, the Institute  began round-the-clock recording of
 
       Britain's BBC1, BBC2, ITV and Channel 4, CNN and BSkyB, and evening
 
     programming from TF1 (France), BR2 (Germany), RAI Uno (Italy) and the
 
       Soviet Gorizont satellite service.  Recording continued until a week
after
 
          the ceasefire.  The archive, with approximately 10,500 hours of
videotape,
 
          includes selected news and current affairs programs made after the
war, and
 oral history interviews with several correspondents.  I would like to
 
        thank the faculty and staff of the Institute for their assistance during
my
 research in the archive in December 1994.  In particular, my thanks go to
 
          the Institute's Deputy Director, Dr. Philip M. Taylor, whose book on
the
 
          media in the Gulf War first aroused my interest in the subject, and
who
 
         helped me to identify key issues in information management.  Dr. Brent
 
        MacGregor of the Institute provided me with interview transcripts and
other
 useful material.  Graduate student Joseph Khalil assisted in the
 
   translation and analysis of French television coverage.
 
Notes:
 
The television footage is identified by date and time; all times are
 
      Greenwich Mean Time, which is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time
and
 three hours behind Riyadh and Baghdad.  All dates are in 1991, unless
 
        otherwise noted.
 
 [1] CNN, January 30, 14:02, University of Leeds, Institute of Communicati
on Studies Gulf
 
            War Archive (ULICS).
[2] Interview with Jo
hn Sweeney, CNN, January 31, 16:44, ULICS, also quoted in New York
 
 
      Times, February 1, p. A8, February 2, p. 1, International Herald Trib
une,
 
          February 1, p. 1, and on TF1, 20 Heures, January 31, 19:
00, ULICS; BBC One
 
          o'Clock News, February 1, 13:07, ULICS.
[
3] Time, February 11, p. 21; Le Monde, February 2, p. 1.
[4] John R. MacAr
thur, Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War
 
 
 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).  The coalition consisted
 
 
          of 31 countries, of which 14 sent troops to the Gulf; seven
made naval
 
        contributions only.  Seventeen other countries mad
e economic, humanitarian
 
          or other contributions to the coalit
ion.
[5] The Times, February 1, p. 1; February 2, p. 1; New York Times, Fe
bruary
 2, p. 4; Time, February 11, p. 23.
[6] In its first report of the
 attack, CNN noted that "over the past few days, coalition
 
 
commanders have reported a series of minor skirmishes and exchanges with Ir
aqi ground
 
          forces." January 30, 14:02, ULICS.  The Saudi br
iefer, Colonel Ahmed Al-Robayan, said that
 Iraqi units had been "probing
coalition defenses along the border, sometimes with
 
       missile
s and artillery and sometimes with tanks and infantry." Saudi briefing, Riy
adh,
 
           CNN, January 30, 15:32, ULICS.  CNN's Defense correspo
ndent Wolf Blitzer said that in the
 
            first two weeks of the
war there had been "sporadic Iraqi efforts to engage the U.S. and
 
 
       the allies on the ground, mostly very brief fights."  January 30, 17
:47, ULICS.
[7] The Times, February 1, p. 1; New York Times, February 1, p
. A1.  The
 
          initial reports greatly overestimated the size of
the Iraqi force; the
 
        following day, Pentagon officials said i
t was closer to 8,000.  New York
 
          Times, February 2, p. 1.
[8
] Philip M. Taylor, War and the Media: Propaganda and Persuasion in the Gul
f
 
          War (New York: Manchester University Press, 1992), p. 138.
 
 
[9] BSkyB News, January 31, 17:07, ULICS.
[10] Rick Atkinson, Crusade: Th
e Untold Story of the Gulf War (London: Harper
 
          Collins, 1994)
, p. 201.  'R'as' is Arabic for peninsula.  The town's full
 
          n
ame was rarely used; typically, it was referred to as 'Khafji' or
 
 
 
    'Al-Khafji.'
[11] Atkinson provides a detailed account of the surpris
e Iraqi attack, and
 
          the decision by the Marine observers to s
tay in the town in Crusade, pp.
 
          202-204.  The two teams hid i
n buildings and called in artillery fire to
 
          scare off Iraqis
who came close.  According to Colonel John Admire, Iraqi
 
          sold
iers entered the buildings several times but did not discover the
 
 
     Marines.  The Times, February 1, p. 1.
[12] Apparently, the observers
 were able to provide detailed information on the
 
    dispositi
on of the Iraqis.  In an interview with French television correspondent Pat
rick
 
            Bourrat, the  Marine Colonel coordinating the artiller
y said that they waited for allied
 
            troops to leave the town
 before resuming fire, and were targeting a group of 17 Iraqi
 
 
   vehicles whose position had been reported by the observers.  TF1, 20 Heu
res, January 31,
 
            19:00, ULICS.
[13] CNN, January 30, 13:16
, 14:02, ULICS.
[14] Central Command (CENTCOM) briefing, Riyadh, CNN, Janu
ary 30, 14:30, ULICS.
[15] CNN, January 30, 14:15, 14:21, ULICS.  Grantin
g that it was impossible to know if the
 Iraqis still held Khafji, Jaco re
sorted to hypothesis.  "If there are Iraqi troops
 
          in Khafji t
hey're completely surrounded, cut off from both the south and
 
 
 the north.  And if they are there everyone estimates it's a small force an
d
 they've got no place to go."
[16] CNN, January 30, 14:44, 15:04, ULICS
.  As CNN anchor Bob Cain noted, "the flurry of
 
            often contr
adictory reports in a situation like this is pretty much inevitable.  The
 
 
 
         nature of the virtually instant reporting we get makes that
seem all the more pronounced."
  January 30, 14:47, ULICS.  As Taylor note
s, it was unlikely that "anyone had a clear
 
           picture at that
 stage of what was actually happening.  Trying to piece together various
 
 
            intelligence reports from the front was as difficult for the
military as it was for the
 
            media."  War and the Media, p. 1
42.
[17] International Herald Tribune, February 1, p. 1; CNN, January 30,
 
 
       15:17; January 31, 15:01, 15:03, ULICS.
[18] The Times, Febr
uary 1, p. 4; International Herald Tribune, February 1,
 p. 3; CNN, Januar
y 31, 16:56, ULICS.  Pro-Iraqi feeling was strong in the
 
          Nort
h African countries of the Maghreb.  In Algeria, 400,000 followers of
 
 
         the Islamic Front demanded military training for those who wanted
to fight
 
          with the Iraqis.  King Hassan of Morocco, one of the
 first Arab leaders to
 
          support the coalition by sending 1,500
 troops to the Gulf, faced increasing
 pressure to recall them.  The day b
efore the attack on Khafji, Moroccan
 
          trade unions organized a
 one-day solidarity strike, and on February 3 at
 
          least 300,00
0 demonstrators marched through the streets of the capital,
 
         R
abat, and burned American, British, French and Israeli flags.  Tunisia
 
 
 
         deployed tanks and soldiers around the American, British and Fren
ch
 
     embassies and closed high schools and universities to disc
ourage protests.
 The Times, February 1, p. 4; New York Times, February 4
, p. A9, February
 
          6, p. A11.
[19] International Herald Tribu
ne, February 1, p. 3; The Times, February 1,
 p. 4; CNN, January 31, 16:15
, ULICS;  New York Times, February 1, p. A7;
 
          New York Times W
eek in Review, February 3, sec. 4, p. 1.
[20] New York Times, February 2,
p. 4; Time, February 18, p. 28; TF1, 20
 
          Heures, January 31, 1
9:00, ULICS; The Times, February 1, pp. 1, 11.  R.W.
 
          Apple no
ted that President Hosni Mubarak had predicted that the war would
 
 
     be over in a month.  "Even if the Egyptian leader is right, that will
mean
 
          Mr. Hussein has succeeded in standing up to an immense W
estern juggernaut
 
          for six weeks, which is better than Egypt d
id against Israel in two tries.
 If the Iraqi leader survives, he clearly
 believes that his defiant
 
     resistance ... will give him a str
ong claim to regional authority in this
 
          vital but chronically
 unstable part of the world."  New York Times,
 
     February 2, p.
 4.
[21] CNN, January 31, 21:44, ULICS; BBC Nine o'Clock News, January 31,
 ULICS.  "What we
 
            have to learn," said one Western military
 source, "is that the Iraqis are playing this to
 
            win on the
 stage of Arab and Third World opinion, not so much to win the land battle
for
 
            Kuwait that, in the long run, they must know they are g
oing to lose."  The Times,
 
       February 1, p. 3.
[22] Correspon
dent Judith Miller in Riyadh noted the ambiguity of Arab reaction, which wa
s
 rooted in memories of defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel.  Even
 in Saudi Arabia,
 
            many felt "a begrudging respect" for Sadd
am Hussein, and were relieved that "another Arab
 
            leader had
 not been humiliated at the hands of the West."  Egypt and Saudi Arabia fel
t it
 
            was important that Iraq should not be dismembered, but
 preserved as a regional military
 
            power and a bulwark again
st Iran.  The Saudi press refrained from calling Saddam Hussein
 
 
     "the enemy," using the milder term "aggressor."  A Saudi official said
: "This is a part of
 the world in which force and strength are respected.
  And even though we are opposed to
 
            him in this struggle, m
any here still admire, despite themselves, what they view as his
 
 
      steely resolve."  New York Times, February 1, p. A10; see also New Yo
rk Times
 
          Week in Review, February 3, sec. 4, p. 1.
[23] BBC
Nine o'Clock News, January 31, ULICS; CNN, January 30, 15:17, ULICS.
[24]
 Saudi briefing, Riyadh, CNN, January 30, 15:32, ULICS.
[25] CENTCOM brief
ing, Riyadh, CNN, January 30, 16:00, ULICS.
[26] New York Times, February
2, p. 1.
[27] The Times, February 1, p. 2, February 2, pp. 2, 3; New York
Times,
 
         February 1, p. A9, February 2, pp. 1, 4.  At the Briti
sh briefing in Riyadh
 on January 31, the joint British forces commander,
Air Chief Marshal Sir
 
          Patrick Hine, agreed that Saddam Hussei
n "does have the option of massing
 
          more powerful forces and c
oming more deeply into Saudi Arabia."  But such a
 move would tempt disast
er.  "I think as an airman I would welcome it
 
       because he will
 come out of well prepared defensive positions with his
 
        armor
ed forces and Republican Guards when we can get at them."  CNN, Ja
 
 
     nuary 31, 18:04, ULICS.
[28] New York Times, February 1, p. A8, Febru
ary 2, pp. 1, 4; The Times,
 
          February 1, p. 1; Schwarzkopf int
erview with John Sweeney, CNN, January 31,
 16:40, ULICS.
[29] CENTCOM br
iefing, Riyadh, CNN, January 30, 18:00, ULICS.  Schwarzkopf said the allies
 
 had attacked 38 Iraqi airfields, putting nine out of operation and destr
oying hardened
 
            aircraft bunkers and planes on the ground.
Iraqi pilots had flown 89 aircraft to Iran.
 
            "The simple fa
ct of the matter," he added, "is that now every time an Iraqi airplane take
s
 off the ground it is running away."
[30] CENTCOM briefing, Riyadh, CNN
, January 30, 18:00, ULICS.  It later emerged that only
 
            11
Marines had been killed, and that they died in the larger battle around Al-
 Wafra, to
 
            the west of Khafji.  Seven were victims of 'frie
ndly fire.' A heat-seeking Maverick
 
        missile from a U.S. Air
 Force A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft, fired towards an Iraqi tank, was
 
 
        diverted by the hot exhaust of a Marine light armored vehicle, and
smacked into the left
 
            rear side, killing all seven Marines
inside.  The Times, February 4, p. 2; Time,
 
          February 18, p. 2
4; Atkinson, Crusade, pp. 206-207.
[31] CENTCOM briefing, Riyadh, CNN, Jan
uary 30, 18:00, ULICS.  Schwarzkopf made a point of
 differentiating betwe
en Khafji and the other actions along the border.  Everywhere the
 
 
       Iraqis had met resistance, they were driven back; they had been able
 to enter Khafji only
 
            because they were unopposed.
[32] CE
NTCOM briefing, Riyadh, CNN, January 30, 18:00, ULICS.  Schwarzkopf made th
e same
 
            point in an interview with CNN correspondent John Sw
eeney: "I don't think that this was a
 
            very well conducted a
ttack.  In some corners this has been touted as a great victory.  To
 
 
          me it's about as significant as a mosquito on an elephant. ... mo
re than anything else
 
           it's a propaganda victory for the Ira
qis if they want to use it.  You know, 'We have
 
         seized a Sa
udi town or something like that.'  Khafji wasn't defended; there weren't an
y
 
            troops there.  There was never any intention to defend Kh
afji so in essence you can't
 
          really say they captured Khafj
i. ... I guess if you want to call that a victory you can--I
 would never
declare that a victory."  CNN, January 31, 16:36, ULICS.
[33] CENTCOM brie
fing, Riyadh, CNN, January 31, 15:06, ULICS; Pentagon briefing, CNN,
 
 
          January 31, 20:30, ULICS.
[34] The Times, February 1, p. 3.  Chr
istopher Walker noted that some
 
       military observers were surpr
ised by "the speed and flexibility shown by
 
          the Iraqis, who h
ad been regarded as hopeless in mobile warfare."  The
 
        Times,
February 2, p. 1.
[35] The Times, February 1, p. 3; CENTCOM briefing, Riya
dh, CNN, January
 
          30, 18:00, ULICS.
[36] CNN, January 30, 17:
43, ULICS.  When the footage was shown later, the expletive was
 
 
     deleted.  However, as Taylor notes, the release of the pool video show
ed that "matters of
 
            taste and decency in language at least
were being left to the journalists rather than the
 
            military
 censors to decide."  War and the Media, p. 143.
[37] TF1, 20 Heures, Febr
uary 1, 19:00, ULICS; International Herald Tribune
 
          , February
1, p. 1; New York Times, February 1, pp. A1, A8; The Times,
 
        F
ebruary 1, p. 1, February 2, pp. 1, 2, 3.
[38] International Herald Tribun
e, February 1, p. 1; New York Times,
 
      February 1, pp. A1, A8,
February 2, pp. 1, 4.
[39] New York Times, February 1, p. A8; CNN, January
 31, 21:37, ULICS; The
 
          Times, February 1, p. 1, February 2, p
. 3; BBC Nine o'Clock News, January
 
          31, ULICS.  White said th
ere were so many U.S. aircraft lining up to launch
 bombs that he was forc
ed to circle for 20 minutes before ground control
 
          let him mak
e his run.  With his penchant for simile, he added: "It was like
 trying t
o get to the check-out during a close-out sale on ladies'
 
    lin
gerie."  The Times, February 2, p. 3.
[40] The Times, February 2, p. 3; In
ternational Herald Tribune, February 1,
 p. 1.
[41] The Times, February 1
, p. 2.
[42] BSkyB News, January 31, 17:00, ULICS.  Quoting a pool report
from the San Diego
 
         Tribune, Charles Jaco noted: "It was not c
lear why the Iraqis encountered
 
          little or no resistance as th
ey entered Khafji.  Saudi ground forces are
 
          positioned near t
he border and most major U.S. positions are behind the
 
         Saudis
 up there."  CNN, January 30, 14:21, ULICS.
[43] The story apparently appe
ared in some early pool reports.  In Dhahran, Charles Jaco
 
 
said the reports claimed that "Iraqi tanks approached the border with Saudi
 Arabia with
 
            their turrets turned around backwards--a possi
ble indication that they might be showing up
 to surrender.  They obviousl
y did not surrender."  CNN, January 30, 14:21, ULICS.  The
 
 
"deception" was also noted in The Times, February 1, p. 1 and International
 
 
        Herald Tribune, February 4, p. 4.
[44] Atkinson, Crusade, p
p. 205-206.
[45] Atkinson, Crusade, p. 209; New York Times, February 1, pp
. A1, A8, A9;
 
          The Times, February 1, p. 3.
[46] Atkinson, Cr
usade, pp. 210-211; New York Times, February 1, pp. A1, A8,
 
          A
9, February 2, pp. 1, 4; The Times, February 1, pp. 1, 3.
[47] New York Ti
mes, February 2, p. 4; The Times, February 2, p. 1.  At a
 
          Bri
tish briefing, it was reported that 300 rather than 30 Iraqis had been
 
 
          killed.  This unfortunate statement was attributed to a clerical
error.
[48] The Times, February 2, p. 1.
.
[49] CNN, January 30, 14:12
, 14:21, ULICS.  Most reports indicated that Marine Cobra
 
         h
elicopters had played a key role in the battle.  However, a Marine Colonel
directing
 
          artillery outside Khafji told French television c
orrespondent Patrick Bourrat that the Cob
 
            ras were ineffecti
ve at night because they could not accurately locate targets.  "In urban
 
combat, they become powerless," he said.  TF1, 20 Heures, January 31, 19:00
, ULICS.
[50] CNN, January 30, 17:43, ULICS; CENTCOM briefing, Riyadh, C
NN, January 30, 18:00,
 
          ULICS.
[51] CENTCOM briefing, Riyad
h, CNN, January 31, 15:06, ULICS.
[52] New York Times, February 1, p. A8.
 
 
[53] CNN, January 31, 15:50, ULICS; BSkyB News, January 31, 17:00, ULICS;
BBC Nine o'Clock
 News, January 31, ULICS.  The Saudis said they had captu
red the town "with the welcome
 
            help of American and Qatar [
sic] allies."  Saudi briefing, Riyadh, CNN, January 31, 16:07,
 ULICS.
[5
4] BBC Nine o'Clock News, January 31, ULICS.  Thompson's pool report was sh
own on CNN at
 17:32 on January 31.
[55] CNN, January 31, 18:35, ULICS;
BBC Nine o'Clock News, January 31, ULICS.  Further
 
           evidence
 of the involvement of Marine ground forces came in Thompson's pool report,
 which
 
            included an account of the abortive mission to rescu
e the Marine reconnaissance unit.
 
           Major Craig Huddleston s
aid the vehicle was found abandoned "but we saw no bloodstains or
 
 
       sign of them.  The staff sergeant ran around the vehicle hollering '
U.S. Marines, U.S.
 
           Marines.'  We got no response and then w
e had to get out of there.  The two [Iraqi] BMPs
 
            were sever
al hundred metres away."  CNN, January 31, 17:32, ULICS.
[56] NBC News, Ja
nuary 31, ULICS.
[57] BBC Nine o'Clock News, January 31, ULICS.
[58] The
Times, February 1, p. 3; New York Times, February 2, p. 5.  After
 
 
     the war, Chris Hedges of the New York Times wrote: "It is worth rememb
ering
 that during the first 24 hours of the fighting in Khafji ... the al
lied
 
          commanders insisted that only Arab forces were battling
the Iraqis.  They
 
          changed the story after an AP reporter clim
bed into a U.S. armored
 
    personnel carrier and drove into the
city, where he witnessed Marines
 
       engaging Iraqi troops.  The
U.S. wanted to build the confidence of the Arab
 troops, but at the expens
e of the truth.  "The Unilaterals," Columbia
 
        Journalism Revie
w, May-June, 1991, p. 28.
[59] New York Times, February 1, p. A9, February
 2, p. 4.  The joint
 
      British forces commander, Air Chief Mars
hal Sir Patrick Hine, paid tribute
 
          to the Saudis for their "v
ery notable part in expelling the Iraqis ...
 
        under the person
al leadership of His Royal Highness Prince Khalid."
 
      British
briefing, Riyadh, January 31, 18:02, ULICS.  Indeed, the allies
 
 
   seemed encouraged by the performance of the untested Saudi troops.  "To
the
 immense relief of the Americans," wrote Atkinson, "the Saudi army had
 
 
        demonstrated that it could fight with zeal and courage--if n
ot with
 
     tactical prowess.  Braced by his success against the
vaunted Iraqi legions,
 Khalid became more insistent on a larger role for
Arab troops in the
 
       ground campaign."  Crusade, p. 212.
[60]
New York Times, February 2, p. 5.
[61] New York Times, February 1, pp. A1,
 A9; Saudi briefing, Riyadh, CNN,
 
          January 31, 16:07, ULICS; B
BC One o'Clock News, February 1, ULICS.
[62] BBC Nine o'Clock News, Janu
ary 31, ULICS.
[63] The Times, February 1, p. 3; NBC News, January 31, ULI
CS.  The New
 
         York Times noted "fragmentary" field reports of
coordination problems,
 
        including "incidents in which Saudi an
d Qatari forces may have fired on
 
         each other."  February 2, p
. 4.  Even after the battle was over, confusion
 
          remained.  Fr
ench television correspondent Catherine Gentile reported that
 
 
 Saudi reinforcements on the outskirts of the town "do not really know what
 
 
          is happening ... they asked us whether the Iraqis were still
 in Khafji."
 
          TF1, 20 Heures, February 1, 19:00, ULICS.
[64]
 CNN, January 31, 16:36, ULICS; The Times, February 1, p. 3; Newsweek,
 
 
      February 11, p. 37.
[65] New York Times, February 13, p. A15.  F
or background on the pool
 
       system and disputes between the mil
itary and the press corps, see Taylor,
 
          War and the Media, pp.
 51-59; MacArthur, Second Front, pp. 3-36; Gary C.
 
          Woodward,
"The Rules of the Game: The Military and the Press in the Persian
 Gulf Wa
r" in The Media and the Persian Gulf War, Robert E. Denton, Jr.,
 
 
    ed. (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), pp. 1-26.
[66] John J. Fialka, Hote
l Warriors: Covering the Gulf War (Washington, D.C.:
 
          Woodrow
Wilson Center Press, 1991.)  Many journalists were aware of their
 
 
     predicament.  "Now I know why I haven't had children," wrote Tony Clif
ton.
 "It's because later in my life, I don't want some innocent child sa
ying,
 
          'Daddy, what did you do in the Gulf War?'  Because I wo
uld have to reply,
 
          'Child, I watched it on CNN, from an armch
air in a big hotel in Dhahran,
 
          Saudi Arabia.'"  Newsweek, Feb
ruary 11, p. 36.  The Associated Press
 
      reported that of the 7
57 journalists and technicians accredited by the
 
        Joint Inform
ation Bureau in Dhahran, only 106 were assigned to pools.
 
        Ed
itor & Publisher, February 9, p. 46.
[67] Time, February 18, p. 39.  The p
ool system fomented disputes between
 
          the 'haves' and 'have-no
ts' of the press corps.  Some of the harshest
 
       critics of the
system were news organizations that claimed to have been
 
         shut
 out of the pools by their competitors.  Agence-France Presse, for
 
 
      example, claimed it had been unfairly excluded from the wire service
photo
 
          pool, and denied access to pool photos.  Frank Aukofer,
 Washington bureau
 
          chief for the Milwaukee Journal, criticize
d the monopoly of pool slots by
 
          major American newspapers, th
e so-called "Sacred 14."  These newspapers ran
 the pool system "like some
 kind of despotic monarchy," causing "tremendous
 rancor and bitterness" i
n the press corps.  Instead of fighting with the
 
          military for
 access, news organizations were fighting with each other.
 
         E
ditor & Publisher, February 9, pp. 9, 46.
[68] New York Times, February 12
, p. A14.  Apple said that until February
 
          3, "[n]o reporter f
rom the six-member bureau of the New York times had
 
        spent a s
ingle day as an authorized correspondent with American ground
 
 
 forces."
[69] New York Times, February 4, p. A9; Time, February 4, p. 45.
 
[70] Time, February 4, p. 44; New York Times, February 9, p. 7; see also
 
 
          Taylor, War and the Media, pp. 59-62.
[71] The Times, Februa
ry 9, p. 1; New York Times, February 9, p. 7,
 
     February 12, p.
 A14.
[72] Time, February 18, p. 39.  Simon describes his capture and capt
ivity
 
          in his book Forty Days (New York: Putnam, 1992.)
[73]
New York Times, February 4, p. A9; Time, February 18, p. 39; Newsweek,
 Fe
bruary 11, pp. 36-37.  The confusion exasperated briefers like Stevens.
 
"[W]e have a situation where your colleagues are out all over the
 
 
 
    battlefield," he said.  "And you're going to get reports from them abo
ut
 
          things that I cannot necessarily confirm because we have t
o make very, very
 sure that what I tell you is authenticated before I sta
nd up here and say
 
          it."  CENTCOM briefing, Riyadh, CNN, Janua
ry 31, 15:06, ULICS.
[74] Time, February 18, p. 39.
[75] New York Times,
February 4, p. A9.
[76] Time, February 18, p. 39; New York Times, February
 9, p. 7.
[77] TF1, 20 Heures, January 31, 19:00, February 1, 19:00, ULICS
.
[78] Not only did French television "go to what sometimes seem inordinat
e lengths not to
 
            offend Arab viewers at home and abroad," s
aid The Times, but it presented an
 
      ethnocentric view of the w
ar, giving "virtually no coverage to British
 
        military involve
ment."  To French viewers, "the only nations participating
 
          se
em to be France and America."  The TV networks blamed limited access to
 
 
 
          British media pools and briefings, but diplomats in Paris "specu
late that
 
          the authorities may not want to encourage French vi
ewers to ponder why
 
        Britain has three times more troops in th
e Gulf than its richer European
 
          partner."  In a tongue-in-che
ek footnote, The Times reported that the
 
       private channel TF1
had incurred official disapproval for interviewing
 
        "four disa
ffected French soldiers who shocked viewers at home by disclosing
 that 't
he soup is bad' in French army kitchens."  During a visit to Saudi
 Arabi
a, the Defense Minister promised to investigate culinary conditions.
 The
 Times, February 6, p. 11, February 13, p. 12.
[79] The Times, February 6,
 p. 11.
[80] Interview by Alison Preston, ULICS.
[81] Interview by Brent
MacGregor, ULICS.
[82] New York Times, February 4, p. A9.
[83] Time, Febr
uary 4, p. 44; New York Times, February 4, p. A9.
[84] New York Times, Feb
ruary 4, p. A9.
[85] New York Times, February 4, p. A9; International Hera
ld Tribune,
 
       February 4, p. 3.  Even the untelevised briefings
 became a contentious
 
        issue in the press corps.  Reporters in
 Riyadh felt they would provide
 
        background and off-the-record
 information.  Their colleagues in Dhahran,
 
          who followed the
briefings on CNN, protested; if they could not listen to
 
          the
briefings, they said they would no longer send copies of their pool
 
 
       reports to Riyadh.  Editor & Publisher, February 9, p. 46.
[86] New
 York Times, February 13, p. A15.  Wildermuth added that more
 
 
 public affairs officers would be available to help reporters and that "we
 
 
          will do our best to find acceptable ways to open up" access t
o military
 
         activities.  In early February, several small news
 organizations which were
 excluded from the pools had filed suit against
the government in Federal
 
          Court in New York, arguing that the
 Pentagon rules were an unconstitutional
 infringement of press freedom.
New York Times, February 13, p. A15.
[87] The Times, February 13, p. 6.
[
88] The Times, February 13, p ?, February 19, p. 6.
[89] Taylor, War and t
he Media, p. 159.
[90] The Times, February 1, p. 3.

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