The age of war-as-televised-spectacle began and ended in Iraq, its death wrought by the terrible spectacle at Abu Ghraib. In 1990, the advent of 24-7 cable news and Operation Desert Storm coincided to create a new vehicle for American military propaganda. The screen sanitized the dirty, violent affair and made it into commodifiable entertainment. The television sustained popular consent for warmaking in the Middle East by pushing Western conceptions of the Arab Muslim further from reality and further toward the villainous “Other.” From the war zone to Washington D.C. memos to the CNN newsroom to the living room, one can track the intentional manicuring of information. This study intends to trace the outline of the military-media apparatus from the driving intents at the top to its vulgar effects--intentional and otherwise--as the mechanisms were employed during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The American information hegemony culminated and crashed at Abu Ghraib. Personal accounts of the torture there demonstrate the encompassing power of the U.S. military-media complex, as the culture of consent among the 372nd Military Police Company stationed at that Baghdadi prison paralleled that of post-9/11 America as a whole.
M.K. Thompson is in their fourth year at Salem College, finishing up their degree in History with a minor in Political Science. Their academic interests have centered around modern geopolitics and the hegemonic construction of narratives. Post-graduation, M.K. plans to work in the service industry until they can afford to go to graduate school.