Nayirah – U.S. Propaganda in the First Invasion of Iraq

We all know that the U.S. lied to the world in 2003 about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in addition to some bogus Saddam Hussein/Al-Qaeda link to justify their invasion of that country.

But did you know that the U.S. also lied to the world for their first invasion of Iraq in 1991?

Because, you know, lying to the world to justify acts of terrorism is the M.O. of the U.S. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt from DemocracyNow episode: How False Testimony and a Massive U.S. Propaganda Machine Bolstered George H.W. Bush’s War on Iraq.

We look back now at a largely forgotten aspect of Bush’s war on Iraq: the vast domestic propaganda campaign that occurred in the United States before the invasion began. The story centers on a young Kuwaiti woman named Nayirah. On October 10th, 1990, the 15-year-old girl gave riveting testimony before Congress about the horrors inside Kuwait after Iraq invaded.

NAYIRAH AL-SABAH: Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Nayirah, and I just came out of Kuwait. … My sister, with my 5-day-old nephew, traveled across the desert to safety. There was no milk available for the baby in Kuwait. They barely escaped when their car was stuck in the desert, desert sand, and help came from Saudi Arabia.

I stayed behind and wanted to do something for my country. The second week after invasion, I volunteered at the Al-Adan Hospital with 12 other women who wanted to help, as well. I was the youngest volunteer; other women were from 20 to 30 years old. While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns. They took the babies out of incubators, took the incubators and left the children to die on the cold floor. It was horrifying. I could not help but think of my nephew.

Nayirah’s testimony was rebroadcast across the country and marked a turning point in public opinion on going to war. President George H.W. Bush repeatedly cited her claims.

PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: They had kids in incubators, and they were thrown out of the incubators, so that Kuwait could be systematically dismantled.

Three months after Nayirah testified, President George H.W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq. But it turned out Nayirah’s claims weren’t true. No human rights group or news outlet could confirm what she said. It also turned out Nayirah was not just any Kuwaiti teenager. She was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, Saud Nasser al-Sabah. She had been coached by the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, a global public relations consulting company, headquartered in New York City with over 80 offices in more than 40 countries, which was working for the Kuwaiti government.

But she was only referred to as Nayirah at the time of the testimony; it wasn’t Nayirah al-Sabah, so you would know that she’s the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador.

You’ve got to remember, in 1990, ’91, we’re only—what?—15 years after Vietnam. And there’s still this very, very bad feeling in the country, that’s represented in Congress by senators like John Kerry, that we were conned into Vietnam, it was an undeclared war, and we weren’t going to get conned again into another phony war or a phony pretext. And so, it was clear that Bush was going to have to get congressional authorization for invading—for liberating Kuwait. And so, the vote was going to be very close. It ended up being 52 to 47.

You can watch the entire interview episode along with Nayirah’s testimony here:

Thanks for reading,

Leave a Reply