A woman at war : storming Kuwait with the U.S. Marines



Transcription of Annotations

Notes on front endpapers: Technology--how do you get stories from desk to Post. Delaney--How do you get dialogue of battle actions. News blackout--1st 48 hours. F-15--Williams/Andrea Mitchell videotapes. Underlinings/notes: George C. Wilson--planted book idea. Walter E. Boomer--model for all military officers in his cooperation with media. Military justified crit. for treatment of reporters in Saudi. Stuart Powell of Hearst--helped with tense situations in conservative Islamic world of Saudi Arabia. Due to bad com. few stories reached Post in time to be used during ground war. 3 views: Moore's as a journalist/witness, Boomer who shaped it, Lt. William Delaney executed it. Interv. 500+ soldiers. Assisted by electronic/written materials--best documented war in history. Boomer's transcripts of daily staff meetings, war-planning councils began week Pres. Bush ordered US forces to Saudi Arabia. Delaney--letters. Feb. 25, 1991--barely breathed expecting Chevy Blazer to explode at any minute. Wondered how they might treat a 35-year-old female POW--only reporter, only women, 38 men. Boomer invited 6 reporters to forward command post. Chaotic v. surgical image. Commanders could not communicate, outran range of radios. CentCom/Pentagon videos showed high-tech, precision-perfect bombings. Unable to file story despite exclusive vantage point/unprecedented access. 2nd Marine Division traveling with satellite dish. No female journalist ever accompanied such a senior commanding gen. onto the battlefield--much less living in same tent. Boomer talked about agonies, sleepless nights of past 7 months. Seemed to be purging months of fears/anxieties. Taken aback by his candor, how quickly he dropped his defenses in front of a reporter. Head call. Schwarzkopf anti-media--journalists feared that they wouldn't be allowed near battle once ground campaign began. 30-day visa--debated about telling other reporters. Told Cheney aid, Pete Williams she planned to stay--if not at plane, will take off. Aug. 18 landed in Saudi. Life in Oman, Salalah Holiday Inn. Susanne Schafer, AP; Bill Lynch, CBS radio--left behind. When reached Qatar, Cheney gray with fatigue. Pete Williams called Pentagon to order a jet to pick-up tapes--almost sent a fighter plane/switched to Lear. 21 Aug. 1990--Gulf Meridien Hotel--needed "I am not a whore" letter. Style section wanted women's story. 22 Aug. 1990--Mike Sherman--Joint Information Bureau. Made it on to trip to visit troops because BBC reporters did not show. 23 Aug.1990--Pentagon depiction of most massive troop deployment since Vietnam a mirage. Washington editors hesitant to run story saying massive deployment an illusion. Needed confirmation--found Boomer on list of commanding generals. Moore and Stuart Powell from AP, knew Boomer well. Boomer head of Marine PR. 1987 Moscow scandal--Marine security guards traded classified secrets for sex with female KGB agents. Boomer confronted new crisis hourly--press accused Bush admin. of hiding dispatched troop numbers, military in disarray. Boomer gave numbers--more than half of Marine assets heading in. Reporters protective. On background. Confirmed no plan to free Americans trapped in embassy. When asked if there would be a war, noted you cannot have so much hardware with that many people facing each other across a border. Boomer's diary--admitted peril of interviews. Believes could defend Jubail, but hard fight--outnumbered in tanks, artillery, people. Saddam as target. Military officials in Washington thought they had a 30% chance of hitting Saddam. General Moore warned Schwarzkopf troops not ready to go. 4 Feb. 1991--Schwarzkopf interview. Moore hates group interviews. "Asshole bear to everyone." Brig. Gen. Thomas Draude. Four F's--fatigue, fear, failure, and feelings. Men fight for one another--care about each other. Moore determined to be one of few to witness the ground attack. Sacred 16--nation's largest papers been in Saudi since Aug. Post managing editor Len Downie decided daily lead written in Washington. Reporters in Saudi Arabia angered; best information siphoned into main story. Post decided Post writer would cover Schwarzkopf news conference in Riyadh by watching it on CNN. Ed Cody--why have reporters in Riyadh if Post covers it by watching TV? Asked to see Boomer--told no, he was busy preparing for war. Marines--Keys' division--making the longest battlefield march in Marine Corps history. Nightly bombings. 27 days into war, seen little more combat than US TV viewers. Parris Island, SC. Saudi-based Marine Corps--64,000 men/women, 20,000 trucks. Technology--Toshiba laptop. Pool reports--Patrick Gibbons. War to start in 5-9 days--near front lines. Units expect to take 50% casualties going through breach--including media. Post prepared to send replacement in event Moore killed. Tried to keep knees from buckling, to not look scared. Sobbing in sand. Own test of courage. Did not believe war worth cost to US families. Molly doubted worth of war. Houston Chron. often carried Post articles; parents could buy it in Lake Charles, LA? Boomer invites Moore to be part of a small press pool at Marine Expeditionary Force main command post. Lt. Bill Delaney. Comm. center flash message from Pentagon--pool reports frozen for 48 hours. Boomer muzzled--Schwarzkopf did not want his commanders in press. Boomer piqued at story. Boomer's value of Iraqi troops. 8 a.m., Thurs., Feb. 28, 1991. War ended. $2.6 billion unused bombs, missiles, bullets stockpiled in Saudi sand at breach sites inside Kuwait. Only 2 stories made it to Post in time to be used. When Moore said she was leaving, Boomer invited her to stay; gave her a hug, told her to be careful. Marine's took her to van abandoned by NBC-TV crew. Angry press corps. Schwarzkopf spun account of near-effortless victory. Bitterness among news media. Cold shoulder for those who had seen the war--resentful. Cold icy stares. Bill Delaney--expected to die. Boomer bored. Col. Bill Steed--not as great success as some thought--enemy didn't fight well. Returned to US on 20 March. Hero--Schwarzkopf. Military men/women darlings of America. Politicians/military duped media/public. Big fallacy--size/fighting ability of Iraqi military. Number of Iraqi troops half what reported. Stunned by conclusions. American forces killed more Marines during the war than did Iraqi troops. 35/148 US combat fatalities caused by friendly fire. Marine Corps most cooperative with the news media. Among worst covered war in history; pool system of abysmal.


Moore, Molly, “A woman at war : storming Kuwait with the U.S. Marines,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed February 2, 2023, http://booknotes.gmu.edu/items/show/250.


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Dublin Core


A woman at war : storming Kuwait with the U.S. Marines


Moore, Molly


Program air date: July 18, 1993.


During the Gulf War, most journalists were confined to media pools. But not Molly Moore, the senior military correspondent of The Washington Post. Moore was the only reporter to accompany a senior commanding general as he led his troops into battle in Kuwait. This is her eyewitness account of the war as she lived it by the side of the top Marine general, Walter E. Boomer. There has never been a book quite like Molly Moore's, for hers is the unique story of what a woman experienced inside the Gulf War military machine - in a male-dominated military amidst an Islamic culture in which women are on a level with the family pet.


"Moore, Molly--Travel--Persian Gulf Region."
"Boomer, Walter Eugene."
"United States. Marine Corps--History--Persian Gulf War, 1991."
"Persian Gulf War, 1991--Personal narratives, American."
"Marines--United States--Biography."


Brian Lamb Booknotes Collection
Gift of Brian Lamb, 2011.


George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives


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