Does "compelling" in the last line of the provided context mean "interesting" or "real"? But, wars can not be interesting. I think it means "real".
When the war in Iraq began in 2003, many observers believed that the conflict would be so different and so distant from their everyday reality that it would ultimately bear comparison only with the visual language of the more space-age and militaristic cartoons and comic strips. The art historian Robert Storr evoked this view in his introduction to the catalogue (September 2003) for an exhibition of Nancy Spero’s Vietnam War series. Citing a special edition of Popular Science on the twenty-first-century soldier, he describes ‘laser equipped space stations knocking out missiles in the upper atmosphere … robotic figures in Spandex-like uniforms’, with ‘no bloodletting’ and ‘no cries.’ This war has, in contrast, been mercilessly bloody, violent, emotionally destructive and, sadly, compelling; a spectacle like no other.