The French sociologist and philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote a book in 1991 entitled The Gulf War Did Not Take Place.
In the same way, the 2016 presidential election did not take place.
Baudrillard did not mean to say, of course, that no war was prosecuted by the US and its allies, positioned in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, against the Iraqi occupation army in Kuwait, eventuating in the expulsion of the Iraqi tank corps.
He did think that for Western audiences, the war was a staged television conflict, an imitation of reality or simulacrum–a phony copy of reality. The weeks of US bombing of Iraqi lines that kicked off the war beginning in mid-January left behind black carbon dust. Iraqi soldiers, many of them poor Shiite conscripts, might have wanted to surrender. But they weren’t allowed to raise a white flag to the F-16s pulverizing them from 30,000 feet. That isn’t a war, that is shooting fish in a barrel. When the land war did begin, it was clear that the war directors connived at having the handful of Egyptian troops drive into Kuwait City first, for the cameras, so that Kuwait was liberated by the Arab League, not by 600,000 Western troops.