The first major post-Cold War conflict, the 1991 Gulf war, indicated how much had already changed. Saddam Hussein had enjoyed Western support in Iraq's war against Iran in the 1980s, but was abruptly cast as the 'new Hitler' after his invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. This book is about how the media have interpreted conflict and international intervention in the years after the Cold War. By comparing press coverage of a number of different wars and crises, it seeks to establish which have been the dominant themes in explaining the post-Cold War international order and to discover how far the patterns established prior to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks have subsequently changed. The key concern is with the legitimacy of Western intervention: the aim is to investigate the extent to which Western military action is represented in news reporting as justifiable and necessary. The book presents a study that looks at UK press coverage of six conflicts and the international response to them: two instances of 'humanitarian military intervention' (Somalia and Kosovo); two cases in which the international community was criticised for not intervening (Bosnia and Rwanda); and two post-9/11 interventions (Afghanistan and Iraq). There were a number of overlapping UN and US interventions in Somalia in the early 1990s. Operation Restore Hope was the first major instance of post-Cold War humanitarian military intervention, following the precedent set by the establishment of 'safe havens' for Iraqi Kurds and other minorities at the end of the 1991 Gulf war.
The main questions considered in
this chapter are:
How was Westernmilitaryaction in Afghanistan explained? Is there
evidence of competing news frames? Was Western action seen as
legitimate and, if so, on what grounds?
How far did press reporting examine the wider context and historical
background of the war? Were alternative explanations of Western
as relevant as ever. Civil wars and ethnic violence threatening the lives
and well-being of innocent civilians will continue to demand Westernmilitaryaction. Arguably, the ﬁght against international terrorism will make these tasks
even more pertinent than before. Weak states and regional wars no longer constitute a threat only to the directly aﬀected populations and areas. With international terrorist networks on the lookout for new bases in the wake of their ouster
from Afghanistan, weak and failing states have come to be perceived as more
than a humanitarian
the Peace Society)’, Fraser’s
Magazine, 610 (October 1880), pp. 490–500, http://search.proquest.
com/docview/2617613 (accessed 24 September 2015).
17 Martin Ceadel referred to this position as ‘crusading’, but I am uncomfortable with this, given its historical association and current misuse by
jihadists to describe Westernmilitaryactions.
18 Olive Banks, Faces of Feminism: A Study of Feminism as a Social
Movement (London: Blackwell, 1981). She referred to this particular
strand of feminism as a ‘notion of female superiority that was accepted
not only by women but
established prior to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks have
subsequently changed. Throughout, the key concern is with the legitimacy
of Western intervention: the aim is to investigate the extent to which
Westernmilitaryaction is represented in news reporting as justifiable
and necessary. For journalists, charged with writing the first draft of
history without benefit of hindsight, the work