SAS Legend Keeps Mobile as He Sets His Sites High; during the First Gulf War, Chris Ryan and His Team Lost Contact with Their Base after the Failure of 17 Radios, Resulting in a Wipeout of Communication. Yesterday, He Came to Birmingham and Spoke to Rhona Ganguly on the Development Communication Technology and the Impact of Graphic Wartime Pictures on Society

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Byline: Rhona Ganguly

He has been described as one of the toughest men in the country having escaped death following an eight-day trek across Iraq and Syria in the early 1990s.

By the time Chris Ryan completed his 200 mile journey, he had suffered sleep deprivation, starvation, diarrhoea, severe dehydration and countless physical injuries.

But for the former SAS trooper, whose mission earned him the award of the Military Medal, images of death and destruction caused by war - experienced by the armed forces daily in Afghanistan and Iraq - have become a norm for households in Britain.

Yesterday, during a 48-hour challenge to promote T-Mobile's mobile phone internet technology, Ryan said television and internet viewers were no longer as affected by the pictures they now have access to.

In many ways, he said, they had almost convinced themselves they were watching a soap opera or playing a computer game.

"The speed of technology is changing completely but it is a two-edged weapon," he said.

"It is in real time and you can see exciting pictures as you can see what is happening when it happens. But there are complications with that. If a car bomb goes off and there are civilians being injured, maimed and killed, these pictures are being viewed almost like a soap.

"When we are watching British troops, we forget this is real life and not a production. It is like you are just watching a video game or a movie."

Although he said it was important for people to realise the reality behind the pictures, he stressed advances in technology could also benefit the armed forces.

He said: "It would have been a lot easier on the first Gulf War. We had 17 different radios and when we got into Iraq, they all went down. …