There are a number of ways that the gulf war directly affected American life besides the most disturbing ones.
For instance, it gave us a whole new vocabulary, such as Scud, collateral damage, sortie, smart bomb, Wolf Blitzer, Elite Republican Guard, etc.The war caused Ted Turner's CNN to be given sudden credibility, causing many people to subscribe to cable for CNN alone. With its new image, it seems unlikely that CNN will ever fade from view now.
Television coverage also created some new sex symbols, the most publicized being NBC's Arthur Kent, also known as the "Scud Stud" and "The Desert Hunk." Since his war reports began he has been inundated with "passionate faxes from faraway fans."
Some are talking about Kent as an odds-on favorite to succeed the beleaguered Dan Rather. There is just something interesting about a correspondent in fatigues.
In fact, both Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw reporting from the war zone dressed almost identically with open neck shirt, sometimes with a turtleneck under it for the layered look. Maybe the TV war will change the acceptable dress for men forever!
On the other hand, the war also produced the predictable attacks on the messengers who bring us the news from the gulf. Although CNN's Peter Arnett was initially billed as some kind of hero reporting the bombing in Baghdad, he came under personal attack from political conservatives.
Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson attacked Arnett as a "sympathizer" both for his Vietnam War reports as well as for his reports from Iraq and claimed that Arnett was being honored largely because of "his anti-government material."
Simpson even threw in the cheap shot that Arnett's former Vietnamese brother-in-law was "active in the Vietcong" during the Vietnam War, a charge that has been denied by those who knew the family.
After Simpson went on the attack, several other politicians echoed his feelings, including Utah's senior Sen. Jake Garn, who accused CNN of "reporting the Iraqi line," and said reporters there should get the "Tokyo Rose Award of World War II."
Even though many of us thought that any news from the war zone was better than none even if censored by Iraqis, self-styled patriots used Arnett and others as symbols of disloyalty - as if war weren't bad enough without the need to turn on each other.
Making a buck on the war was the object of conniving souls whose patriotism got misplaced - by selling T-shirts, sweat shirts, bumper stickers, buttons and other paraphernalia.
In southern Florida, 10,000 people gathered to form a human map of the United States, with a large American flag in the center. From a helicopter, a photo was made of the scene and that photo was turned into a picture post card to send to troops in the gulf.
In Wautaga, Texas, a man set up a display on his front lawn of more than 200 Christmas lights in the colors and shape of the American flag. He promised they would remain lit until all the troops had come home.
Then what about CNN offering a video for sale with the early events of the war?
A high-tech war became a high-tack war.
Finally, anyone who has noticed President Bush's incorrect pronunciation of Saddam Hussein's name might be interested to know about evidence that it might be intentional.
Linquistic experts told New York magazine that the name Saddam has two distinctly different meanings, depending on where the accent is placed. With the accent correctly placed on the second syllable, Saddam means "learned one" or "leader."
But a native Egyptian says that the way Bush pronounces Saddam gives the name "a very vulgar meaning." He says that when "Saddam" rhymes with "Adam," the word means "a boy who fixes or cleans old shoes. It's the dirtiest possible insult in some parts of the Arab world, but you have to have spent years on the streets of Alexandria or Cairo to know it."
The war will not be easily forgotten.