Turn Back Before Baghdad

ISIS’s use of social media and other avenues to facilitate their terrorism is a relatively recent development in the preexisting conflict in the Middle East, and Iraq in particular. Conflict with this region of the world and the U.S. can be pinpointed to the 1990s with the First Gulf War.

In August of 1990, Saddam Hussein marched the Iraqi army on the oil province of Kuwait. The U.S. and the U.N. rushed to defend Kuwait with Operation Desert Shield, declaring that Hussein was to withdraw by January 15, 1991 or face repercussions. Hussein refused to surrender and, on January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm.

Unlike today, with entire news outlets dedicated to wartime media, many of the military leaders during Desert Shield/Storm held the media at arm’s length due to the lingering reactions against the Vietnam war’s media coverage. With Turn Back Before Baghdad, Laurence Jolidon collected firsthand dispatches from American and British correspondents, providing readers with intimate insight into the conversations, the snap decisions, and the moments that changed history.

While the media may now have the advantage of releasing their content nearly instantaneously, getting information straight from dispatches, letters, and more, can be thrilling. These primary sources can help readers begin to understand not simply what decision was made, but why a certain option was chosen over another. Jolidon was one of the first modern journalists to utilize this.

The upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of the First Persian Gulf War provides a timely context for acknowledging Jolidon’s legacy with the University of North Georgia Press’s publication of Turn Back Before Baghdad and its original frontline dispatches.