- John T. Flynn, As We Go Marching
- On July 25, 1990, eight days before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, a quiet, largely
unreported meeting took place between Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April
Glaspie at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad, which has since been destroyed by the war.
The transcript of this meeting is as
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie:
"I have direct instructions from President Bush to improve our relations with
Iraq. We have considerable sympathy for your quest for higher oil prices, the immediate
cause of your confrontation with Kuwait. (pause) As you know, I have lived here for years
and admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country. We know you need funds. We
understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your
country. (pause) We can see that you have deployed massive numbers of troops in the south.
Normally that would be none of our business, but when this happens in the context of your
other threats against Kuwait, then it would be reasonable for us to be concerned. For this
reason, I have received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship - not
confrontation - regarding your intentions: Why are your troops massed so very close to
"As you know, for years now I have made every effort to reach a settlement on our
dispute with Kuwait. There is to be a meeting in two days; I am prepared to give
negotiations only this one more brief chance. (pause) When we [the Iraqis] meet [with the
Kuwaitis] and we see there is hope, then nothing will happen. But if we are unable to find
a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death."
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie:
"What solutions would be acceptable?"
"If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab - our strategic goal in our war
with Iran - we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis). But, if we are forced to choose
between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (which, in Saddam's view, includes
Kuwait) then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the
whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States' opinion on
(Pause, then Ambassador Glaspie speaks carefully)
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie:
"We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait.
Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given
to Iraq in the 1960's that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."
- At a Washington press conference called the next day, State Department spokesperson
Margaret Tutweiler was asked by journalists:
"Has the United States sent any type of diplomatic message to the Iraqis about
putting 30,000 troops on the border with Kuwait? Has there been any type of protest
communicated from the United States government?"
to which she responded:
"I'm entirely unaware of any such protest."
- On July 31st, two days before the Iraqi invasion, John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of
State for Near Eastern affairs, testified to Congress that the
"United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the U.S. has no intention of
defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq."
- Eight days later, on August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein's massed troops invaded and occupied
Kuwait (ironically, this was done in a method historically similar to the American
annexation of Texas). One month later in Baghdad, British journalists obtained the tape
and transcript of the Hussein-Glaspie meeting on July 25, 1990. In order to verify this
astounding information, they attempted to confront Ms. Glaspie as she was leaving the U.S.
Embassy in Baghdad.
"Are the transcripts (holding them up) correct, Madam Ambassador?"
(Ambassador Glaspie does not respond)
"You knew Saddam was going to invade (Kuwait), but you didn't warn him not to. You
didn't tell him America would defend Kuwait. You told him the oppose - that America was
not associated with Kuwait."
"You encouraged this aggression - his invasion. What were you thinking?"
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie:
"Obviously, I didn't think, and nobody else did, that the Iraqis were going to
take ALL of Kuwait."
"You thought he was just going to take SOME of it? But how COULD YOU?! Saddam told
you that, if negotiations failed, he would give up his Iran (Shatt al Arab Waterway) goal
for the "WHOLE of Iraq, in the shape we wish it to be." You KNOW that includes
Kuwait, which the Iraqis have always viewed
as an historic part of their country!"
(Ambassador Glaspie says nothing, pushing past the two journalists to leave)
"America green-lighted the invasion. At a minimum, you admit signaling Saddam that
some aggression was okay - that the U.S. would not oppose a grab of the al-Rumalya oil
field, the disputed border strip and the Gulf Islands (including Bubiyan) - territories
claimed by Iraq?"
(Again, Ambassador Glaspie says nothing as a limousine door closes behind her and the
car drives off.)
- Two years later, during NBC News Decision '92's 3rd round of The Presidential Debate,
1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot was quoted as saying:
"...we told him he could take the northern part of Kuwait; and when he took the
whole thing we went nuts. And if we didn't tell him that, why won't we even let the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee see the written
instructions for Ambassador Glaspie? - "
At this point, he was interrupted by former president George Bush who yelled:
"I've got to reply on that. That gets to the National Honour!... That is
Later on in the debate, President Bill Clinton stated:
"...Several government departments, several, had information that he was
converting our aid to military purposes and trying to develop weapons of mass destruction,
but in late '89 the President signed a secret policy saying we were going to continue to
try to improve relations with him, and we sent him some sort of communication on the eve
of his invasion of Kuwait that we still wanted better relations..."
- On August 23rd, Iraq offered to withdraw in return for the lifting of economic
sanctions, guaranteed access to the Gulf, and full control of the Rumalyah oil field. The
proposal was not accepted. In late February, the Soviets negotiated a peace proposal involving a three-week
withdrawal period on the part of the Iraqis, in exchange for removal of the sanctions.
George Bush did not accept.
- It soon became reported in American newspapers, magazines, and television media that the Iraqis had the world's
fourth-largest army with estimates of up to a million soldiers, including the
battle-hardened elite republican guard. Later, it was estimates were reduced to 2-3
hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers. By the end of the war, this number was further reduced to
a hundred-thousand untrained troops, most of whom were forced to maintain their positions.
This is ironic, considering that in the fall of 1990, after the start of the war, Canadian
military analyst Gwynne Dyer remarked that "Saddam Hussein was not a problem that
kept anybody awake in July." Three successive American administrations did nothing from 1980 to 1988, when Saddam Hussein was responsible for killing
over 150,000 Iranians and 13,000 of his own civilians including approximately 4,000
"Anybody who thinks advertising is a hit or miss business has been asleep for 40
- - Lynden MacIntyre, host of CBC's The 5th Estate
- Once the Iraqi occupation had begun, the Kuwaitis found themselves in a rather
precarious situation. They had to find a way to sell a war to the American public, most of
whom had never before even heard of Kuwait. The illusion had to be created that Kuwait was
not an oil-rich oligarchical Islamic regime run entirely by the al-Sabah royal family that
had treated its 500,000 foreign workers like slaves, disallowed its citizens membership in
any political parties, excluded women from the political process, banned political
assemblies, and in January 1990 had broken up a pro-democracy opposition gathering of six
thousand using tear gas and batons.
- To facilitate this new image, the public relations firm Hill
& Knowlton was hired for $10.7 million by Citizens for a Free Kuwait,
an organization formed after the Iraqi invasion to represent the Kuwaiti government in
exile. Under the pretence of being a grassroots citizens coalition Citizens for a Free
Kuwait received $11,852,329 from the Kuwaiti government, but only $17,861 from 78
North American contributors. Hill &
Knowlton had done Public Relations behalf of Pepsi, both of the Reagan campaigns, and for the governments of both Turkey and Indonesia. Craig Fuller, the firm's president and chief operating
officer, had been George Bush's Chief of Staff when he was Vice President to Ronald
Reagan. According to Hill & Knowlton's Justice Department
registration papers, 119 executives in twelve offices around the U.S. worked on the Kuwait
- The Hill & Knowlton propaganda
campaign bought a Kuwait Information Day on twenty college campuses, a national day
of prayer for Kuwait observed in churches nationwide, the distribution of tens of
thousands of Free Kuwait bumper stickers and T-shirts, and thousands of press kits
extolling the alleged virtues of Kuwaiti society. Utilizing the public relations maxim
that sufficient repetition breeds eventual agreement regardless of the truth, Citizens
for a Free Kuwait president Dr. Hassan al- Ebraheem stated that Kuwait has a
"total commitment to democracy and the Constitution," after he had undergone an
image transformation at the suggestion of Hill & Knowlton.
- However, none of these campaign efforts aroused the wrath of America over the Iraqi
invasion. Sympathy was not evoked by the U.S. public, who had been apathetically
conditioned to viewing the suffering of innocent victims of hunger, war, and oppression
across the world every night on CNN. It was recognized that a propaganda campaign would have to be created to
manufacture enemy atrocities. Utilizing previous propaganda
models employed in the Spanish-American War
(1889) and World War I (1914), Hill & Knowlton decided to foster American
primate aggression and stimulate inherent parental instincts by exploiting the ultimate
symbol of innocence and purity: babies.
"During the Gulf War, the American media
was manipulated into reporting exactly what the government and military had wanted them to
- - Jeff Pavir, host of CBC's Prime Time
- Through press releases and media packages, Hill
& Knowlton began circulating the accusations that Iraqi soldiers had removed 312
babies from their incubators and left them to die on the cold hospital floor of Kuwait
City. This incident had originally been fabricated in a September 5 report to the London
Daily Telegraph by exiled Kuwaiti housing minister Yahya al-Sumait. It was reinforced
in a later account in the Los Angeles Times by a San Francisco woman identified
only as "Cindy" and her travelling companion "Rudi". No last names
were given and no photographs were presented as evidence of this claim. Once this
unsubstantiated baby atrocity accusation got out, it was repeated over and over again by
journalists, having burrowed itself like a virus into the computerized clippings files of
- At the October 10 Congressional Human Rights
Caucus, Hill & Knowlton produced "Nayirah", a fifteen-year- old
Kuwaiti, to provided testimony that was later used in the Citizens for a Free Kuwait
media kit. In her passionate account of atrocities
in Kuwait city, she stated:
"I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room
where 15 babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the
incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die."
- It was not asked why she didn't bend down to pick up one of the dying infants, and it
was not revealed that Nayirah was the daughter of Saud al-Sabah, Kuwait's ambassador to
the United States.
- Aziz Abu-Hammad, investigator for the New York-based human rights group Middle East
Watch, was unable to substantiate Nayirah's report of incubator atrocities. In a
December 19 memo, he wrote that it is possible that some of the supposed witnesses
"are doing their part in a public relations campaign by the Kuwaiti government, where
the truth is stretched a bit." Regardless, Hill & Knowlton had the baby
incubator story repeated before the United
Nations Security Council chamber in an audiovisual presentation on November 27.
- The presentation was loaded with anonymous charges of Iraqi brutality and the
reiteration of the baby incubator story. A Kuwaiti dentist, claiming to be a surgeon and
using a false name, testified that under his supervision 120 newborn babies were buried in
the second week of the invasion. Five of the seven witnesses at the U.N. that day -
coached by Hill & Knowlton - had used false names without saying they were
doing so. Two days after this slick presentation, the Security Council passed Resolution
678 authorizing member states to use military force to evict Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
- In the five weeks following Nayirah's falsified testimony, the baby incubator story was
repeated six times by George Bush in various political speeches, including a speech to the
troops near Dhahran:
"It turns your stomach when you listen to the tales of those that have escaped the
brutality of Saddam the invader. Mass hangings. Babies pulled from incubators and
scattered like firewood across the floor."
- When Amnesty International made the unfortunate
mistake of publishing a two-sentence description of the incubator story in an 84-page
report on human rights violations in occupied
Kuwait, George Bush was quick to exploit
Amnesty's established credentials by publishing an open letter sent to campus
newspapers across the country, using references to the Amnesty
version of the incubator story, and stating that
"there's no horror that could make this a more obvious conflict of good vs.
- At the January 8 Congress hearing on Kuwait the war resolution was passed after the Amnesty report was quoted that
"over 300 babies were reported to have died after Iraqi soldiers removed them from
- Amnesty later backed down from the story in the
seventh paragraph of a press release, stating that they had found
"no reliable evidence that Iraqi forces had caused the deaths of babies by
removing them or ordering their removal from incubators."
- Opposition to the incubator atrocity tale was conveniently ignored, until the January
17, 1991 article by Alexander Cockburn in the Los Angeles Times which openly challenged
the incubator myth. Unfortunately, by then the bombing of Iraq had already begun.
- Later, on February 15, Vice President Dan "Potato" Quayle declared,
"There are pictures Saddam doesn't want us to see. Pictures of premature babies in
Kuwait that were tossed out of their incubators and left to die."
- After the war, Middle East Watch was shown death certificates for 30 Kuwaiti
babies who were all buried on August 24, 1990. Of those 30 babies, 19 had died before the
Iraqi invasion began, and 11 died during the occupation. None of the 30 were ever shown to
have been removed from incubators. All of the witnesses backed off from their original
claims of having supervised or participated in the burial of babies.
- According to London Amnesty International
spokesman Sean Styles,
"we spoke to well over a dozen doctors of different nationalities who had been in
Kuwait at the time and they couldn't stand the story up, and it became quite clear to us
that credible medical opinion was that this didn't happen."
- Andrew Whitley, executive director of Middle East Watch, and part of a two-man
investigation in Kuwait, was quoted as having said:
"Soon after we arrived in Kuwait, two weeks after the liberation it became
apparent that the story was a complete hoax. We were able to go 'round the hospitals to
count the incubators and find that - possibly with one or two that had been misplaced -
that none were missing. So none of the incubators were removed in the first place.
Moreover, it seemed quite clear that there weren't any deaths which had been deliberately
the cause of the Iraqis having gone in and stolen equipment."
- The final decision to go to war was made on January 12, 1991 in a Senate vote of 52 to
47 (a margin of 3). Before passing this resolution, six pro-war senators specifically
brought forth the baby incubator allegations in their speeches supporting the resolution.
Without the incubator allegations the margin of victory within the Senate would not have
been sufficient for the war effort to be approved, and hence the war would not have
By the way, did you all see the wonderful ad on television that played four times a day
throughout the 1980's that said "Do not fight, do not go to war, it is not the right
thing to do," that the government organized and put together? How many people saw
that ad? Has anyone ever seen an add put on television with our tax dollars saying war was
not a good thing? Yet there have been hundreds of ads paid for with our tax dollars put on
there to condition us to see war as a good thing.
- - former CIA agent John Stockwell
- The opportunities for a negotiated Iraqi withdrawal were open for six months from
mid-August up until the American invasion in mid-January. Diplomatic solutions leading to
a peaceful withdrawal of Iraq were
discouraged, out of fear that this might "defuse the crisis" with "a few
token gains for Iraq". In the 3 months from December 1990 to February 1991 the
percentage of Americans who thought the country was on the right track went from 22% to
65%. Bush's approval rating went up to 91%. After the war, a New York Times poll
showed that 8 out of 10 Americans said that the U.S. was in bad shape, 67% disapproved of
the way Bush was handling the economy, and his approval rating went down to 48% (a drop of
- Although Bush and various other U.S. officials denied it, killing Saddam Hussein really
was a top priority after all. The Americans spent a lot of time and effort building and
testing a bigger bomb that could knock out Saddam Hussein's bunker, with the ability to
penetrate the many layers of concrete. They knocked out all the bunkers where they thought
Saddam would be, but he turned out to be hiding somewhere else.
- According to Daniel Sheehan's lecture The Persian Gulf War, Covert Operations and the
New World Order, eight days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, an Arab summit was
called in Cairo to seek an Arab solution to this problem. When the foreign minister of
Kuwait confronted Tarik Aziz, Iraq's foreign minister for the invasion, Tarik Azziz turned
to him before the Cairo summit and said, "You had better be extremely careful about
what you say to me in public because we're in possession of transcripts of your meetings
with the Central Intelligence Agency in which you were planning with the United States
Central Intelligence Agency a covert operation to get rid of Saddam Hussein."
Following this, the Kuwaiti foreign minister passed out.
- The coalition built by the Americans
consisted of British, Italian, French, Canadian, and Saudi military support and included
backing from Syrian President Hafez el-Assad, who had a long history of jockeying for
power in the region against Saddam Hussein. This alliance brought an end to the illusion
that the war in the Gulf was for humanitarian purposes and the restoration of democracy,
since Assad, who killed 20,000 of his own citizens to quell an uprising in Hama, Syria,
was comparatively more dictatorial than Saddam himself.
- In a report issued on February 27, 1991 Amnesty
International stated that it had been increasingly disturbed by the failure of the
international community to selectively ignore the consistently reported patterns of human rights violations in virtually all the
countries involved in the Gulf crisis, and by the selective use of Amnesty reports by parties to the conflict.
- A news release sent out on February 8, 1991 stated that
"in times of war, governments often tend to sweep human rights aside in the name of political or
military expediency. They are also selective in the human rights violations they condemn - those of
their enemies are loudly criticized while those of their allies are overlooked."
- A February 20 Amnesty International news release
"countries around the world have done virtually nothing over the years to put a
stop to serious human rights violations - in
Iraq and elsewhere - that have set the scene for the present war. Now those violations are
being exploited as propaganda and others are being
committed in the name of national security."
"This was a tremendous manipulation of public opinion. The media let us down in whole-sale fashion in terms of the
coverage. They accepted the handouts from the Pentagon. They relied on their authorized
knowers and their official sources, and they didn't make, really, any attempt to give us
an accurate picture of what the reasons for this war were and what the results of this war
were with respect to the terrible human carnage. So I think that from my perspective as a
professor of Media Studies, the most important lesson
was how little we could rely on the media to tell us
what's going on."
- Dr. James Winter, professor of Mass Communications at the University of Windsor, author
of Common Sense: Media Portrayal of the Gulf War and Other Events
- The success of the Gulf War was determined by the overwhelming support of the international mass media. Without it, this century's
most technologically advanced butchery could not have been legitimated in the eyes of the
American public as The Mother of All Battles: a Noble Crusade against Islamic Militant Fanaticism for the
establishment of a New World Order, the preservation of waning Family Values,
the creation of jobs, and the maintenance of the price of gasoline - the holy elixir that keeps the American
Dream running smoothly.
- In the "high-tech precision battle" with Iraq a bombing mission was
carried out every single minute. This Nintendo
War between Patriots and Scuds
was the first real feel-good war that the cholesterol-laden testosterone-poisoned MTV/CNN-addicted American public had witnessed in
half a century. Former U.S. President George
Herbert Walker Bush managed to beat the wimp image (at least temporarily) and
end the deadly Vietnam Syndrome that forced the American military to fight without
public support at home. Most importantly, however, Neil Bush's considerable investment in
Bahrain oil was secured by his father's declaration that the U.S. has "a moral
imperative" to police that area.
- A propaganda war was successfully waged against
the American people through intensive 24-hour television and radio coverage from Baghdad,
Riyadh, Kuwait City, Tel-Aviv, and the Persian Gulf. Newspapers and magazines attempted to
outdo one another with coloured maps of the
region. Gulf War playing cards quickly became a hot item. In a format considered
palatable to the largely uneducated populace of McDonaldLand, the constant barrage of
glossy-packaged journalism provided predigested ethnocentric distorted historical,
religious, political, and geographical information on the Middle East.
- The mass media maintained its illusion of
objectivity, restricting media access to talking
heads within the ranks of the government and the military, and rejecting many news stories
considered unimportant for the American public.
Not wanting to risk the friendly relationship between the press and government information
sources, news journalists neglected to raise questions that the military declared
off-limits. By abdicating their role as critical, adversarial journalists, they
transformed their role from government watchdogs to government lapdogs to preserve their
ratings-conscious profit-oriented media bureaus and
maintain the likelihood of government deception.
- In his essay The War Psychoses, Mark Twain documented the fact that
traditionally, many Americans speak out in opposition to the build-up of every war.
However, once the killing starts, almost everybody goes mad with blood-lust and few
question military authority. Two days before the bombardment of Iraq began on January 16,
a CNN poll showed that 51% of the American public still opposed the war. Two days after
the killing began, a similar poll showed that 97% now supported the war.
- The triple-headed media beast DanRatherTedKoppelTomBrokaw
hosted ample coverage of soldiers heading off to war and mothers tying yellow ribbons on
trees in a ritualistic attempt to return their sons and daughters to them unharmed by
chemical weapons or friendly fire. While Americans were seen expressing their support for
the war in cities across the U.S., very little coverage was shown of the protests and
demonstrations of the large anti-war movement in the U.S. A mid-winter demonstration of
in Washington received four seconds of media coverage.
By February, there had been over 3,200 protests against the war in the U.S. alone, though
these events were not represented in the media.
Reporters were punished for being sympathetic to the anti-war movement. An editor in
Pennsylvania was fired for writing an article entitled How About a Little Peace?
- Selective control was exercised over which journalists got into Saudi Arabia to cover
the war. Visas were not given to critical journalists from alternative media sources. "For
reasons of national security", press pools involved only 190 of the 1400
journalists, technicians, and photographers that were stationed in the Persian Gulf region
during the war. Displeasing military censors resulted in the loss of press credentials and
being dropped from the pool. Reporters from The New York Times who displeased the
military were denied interviews, put on long- term hold, had their credentials pulled and
were removed from the pool.
- Of the 190 journalists permitted to cover the war, only 30 were allowed to be at the
front to cover hostilities at any given time, and these reporters were forced to stay with
their military escorts at all times. All stories were subject to security review (military
censorship). One reporter from The Detroit Free Press filed a story which described
pilots returning from bombing missions as giddy. The military censor changed it to proud.
A compromise was eventually arrived at with pumped up. Military censors then delayed the
story by two days.
- The Defense Department referred to the
invasion of Iraq as Desert Storm, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon beyond human
control. Military intelligence reports
depicted a battle of high-tech smart bombs and surgical strikes carried out with pin-point
accuracy. Now and then, there was the odd bit of collateral damage (translation: the
killing of innocent civilians) and sometimes, the Desert storm forces were guilty of
accidentally "pulling a friendly" (translation: the killing of not-so innocent
brainwashed former-civilians). The American public was presented with the image of a
sterile war without casualties. Throughout the entire battle, no casualty estimates were ever given on national television.
- According to Theodore Postol, an MIT physicist and former Pentagon advisor, the American
Patriot missiles had been "an almost total failure". The triumphant scenes of
Iraqi scud missiles being destroyed that American believed in - because they saw it live
on CNN - had really just been the primitive scuds breaking apart by themselves. Of the
84,000 tons of bombs that the U.S. forces dropped on Iraq, 91% were "dumb" bombs
- or simple iron gravity bombs, and 75% of those missed their targets.
- An article entitled Mad Dogs and Englishmen in the February 3, 1991 edition of The
Guardian Weekly described the use of rhetoric by the British Press in waging the
psychological war against Iraq. British soldiers were described in the press as lion-hearted
boys and resolute lads, while the Iraqi troops were called brainwashed
troops and fanatical hordes. The young knights of the skies launched first
strikes pre-emptively, while the bastards of Baghdad launched sneak missile
attacks without provocation. The allied army, navy and air force would precision
bomb and cause collateral damage, while the Iraqi war machine would fire
wildly at anything in the skies, causing civilian casualties.
- The brave American troops were loyal to George Bush, who was resolute,
statesmanlike, and at peace with himself, while the ruthless Iraqi mad
dogs were blindly obedient to Saddam Hussein, the demented crackpot monster
and evil tyrant. Heroic allied troops suffered a high rate of attrition
and failed to return from missions, whereas the Iraqi cannon fodder were shot
out of the sky. Professional Allied troops would dig in and take out,
while cowardly Iraqis would cower in their foxholes and kill.
Ironically, the confident, yet cautious allies were reported to have reporting
guidelines and press briefings, while the desperate and cornered
Iraqis reportedly had censorship and propaganda.
- As in any war, the enemy was dehumanized as much as possible in the popular media. Returning American pilots referred to
the Iraqis as cockroaches, camel-jockeys, and sand- niggers. Saddam Hussein was portrayed as The Butcher
of Baghdad: an irrational mad-man, with many obvious comparisons made to Adolf Hitler.
The implication manufactured by the U.S. military that Saddam Hussein desired to conquer
Saudi Arabia helped further justify the war effort, especially in the mind of George Bush,
who saw the war as a potential re-run of Hitler's unquestioned invasion of France in 1940.
- To further demonize the enemy leader, the New York Times carried an editorial-page
cartoon entitled "The Descent of Man" with a picture of Clark Gable, then
a gorilla, a monkey, a snake, and finally Saddam Hussein. An editorial in The Globe and
Mail read: "The world faces war in the middle east because of the
intransigence of one man", referring to Hussein. Saddam became known as an environmental
terrorist for his supposed scorched-earth
policy, and at a time when North American ecological sensitivity and news coverage was
at it's peak, this was quite a serious castigation. He also had the opportunity to make a
guest appearance in the American war-comedy Hot Shots, starring Charlie Sheen.
- The New York Post ran a front page picture of Saddam Hussein patting the head of
a child hostage with the headline "Child Abuser". Combined with the term
"naked aggression" coined by George Bush, and the "Rape of
Kuwait" theme brought out in headlines throughout the war, the Iraqi leader was
symbolically implicating in some form of sexual assault, and effectively demonized before
the wholesome American public. The average response to a CNN video-survey taken of
deep-south small-town Americans for their opinion on Saddam was: "If I had a gun,
I'd shoot him."
- Taking a Jungian perspective on the conflict, to George Bush Saddam Hussein merely
represented the archetypal shadow figure; the repressed fears of the American
leader's own devious nature. The parallels seemed striking. Every scolding remark that
Bush made against Hussein could be applied back to his own covert activities as head of
the CIA and as President. In a lecture of the Toronto Jungian Society, a Swiss
psychologist viewed the Gulf War as the physical manifestation by the collective
unconscious in the form of a synchronistic reenactment of the ancient Babylonian creation
myth. The Mother of All Battles was apparently a title attributed to the primal
mother goddess Tiamut, slain by the god Marduk in his campaign to establish a New World
- General Schwartzkopf, whose name means
'black head' in German, was compared to the black-headed Babylonian god of military
victory, an ally of Marduk. Patriots and Scuds were compared to the giant war spears that
sparked a thousand points of light when the gods fought their battle, and fearful
rhetoric of chemical weapons were compared to the supernatural yellow wind used against
the god Marduk. The Swiss psychologist's implication was that in order for George Bush to
establish his New World Order (a phrase initially coined by Adolph Hitler), he
would first have to destroy the Old World Order of humanity that began 3700 years
ago with the empires of Sumeria, Assyria and Babylonia, in the cradle of civilization that
is now Iraq.
- American televangelists such as Dr. (!?) Jack Van Impe, predictably jumped on the
war bandwagon and predicted an imminent armageddon starring Saddam Hussein in the role of Anti-Christ,
which he attempted to prove through numerological permutations of biblical scriptures. To
this prophet of profit, the New World Order represented the long-awaited return to
earth of Jesus Christ and the beginning of a thousand-year era under theocratic rule.
Fortunately, for those of us who did not share his vision, he was wrong.
- As far as most Americans were concerned, the Persian Gulf War was created ex nihilo by
Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait City. Few were familiar with the history of the
oil-rich monarchy of Kuwait, such as the establishment of a British base in 1793, the
establishment of a puppet government, the dominion under British colonial forces from
1899-1961, and the 1961 British aggression towards the legitimate long-standing Iraqi
claims to this region. The Iraqi complaint that the Kuwaitis slant-drilled into the
Rumalyah oil field on the Iraq/Kuwait border and stole Iraqi oil also went largely
unnoticed outside of OPEC nations.
- Most Americans were unaware that during the 1980's Iraq was supplied with $50 billion in
American arms to fight its ten-year war with Iran, and was also financed by Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia. During that time, Kuwait expanded its borders by 900 square miles to cover
Iraqi oil fields and bought the Santa Fe Drilling Company, which specializes in
slant oil drilling, for $2.3 billion, according to John Stockwell. When, after the war,
Iraq was unable to repay their $80 billion war debt to Kuwait, the Kuwaitis drove down the
price of oil. This cost Iraq $16 billion and angered Saddam Hussein, who was unable to
repay his debts to the Kuwaitis who were tapping into Iraqi oil fields.
- The Iraqi war effort had been assisted by U.S. intelligence following a 1984 meeting
between Ronald Reagan and Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz. U.S. navy ships helped the
Iraqis guide their missiles to Iranian targets. According to BBC correspondent John
Simpson's From the House of War, on May 17, 1987 the USS Stark was hit by two Iraqi
missiles because the Iraqi pilot "homed in accidentally on the radio beam from the
Stark which was directing the pilot to his [Iranian] target." The incident killed
thirty-seven American crewmen and the White House never asked Iraq for compensation. On
May 29, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage stated publicly, "We can't
stand to see Iraq defeated."
- In 1989 the White House ensured loan guarantees of $1 billion to Iraq, since according
to the State Department, Iraq was "very important to U.S. interests in the Middle
East", it was "influential in the peace process" and was "a
key to maintaining stability in the region, offering great trade opportunities for U.S.
companies." The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein as he crushed the Shi'ites in the
south and the Kurds in the north.
- Iran had also been armed with TOW missiles by the U.S. in criminal violations of the Arms
Export Control Act in what was to become known as the Iran-Contra Affair. After
a few years, Iraq was supplied with arms by the United States, Germany, and several other
world powers once it was recognized that the fundamentalist regime of the Ayatollah did
not serve the interests of the United States, whom they referred to as 'The Great Satan'.
- According to George Bush, the people of Iraq weren't the enemies of the coalition
forces. This didn't prevent thousands from dying as a result of U.S. intervention,
although the American public only saw the death of one Iraqi soldier in a burnt-out tank
because of war censorship. American media did
not report the fact that retreating Iraqis were buried alive with tank bulldozers and
burnt alive with napalm bombings - the only use of chemical weapons during the war - thus
violating the Geneva Conventions covering chemical warfare. Former U.S. Attorney General
Ramsey Clark commented that there was "nothing but collateral damage" in
his travels with international observers across Iraq over a two month period after the
- Greenpeace's William Arkin estimated 243,000
casualties between the war itself, fighting in the aftermath, deaths of refugees, and
deaths due to inadequate medical care and nutrition in the post-war period. There was a
380% increase in infant mortality since the war; an estimated 46,900 children died from
war-related causes in the first eight months of the bombings. 900,000 Iraqi children under
the age of five are now malnourished, some facing death by starvation. Clean water is
scarce due to the destruction of sewage and water purification systems. Incidence of
poverty in Iraq is now greater than in India, and unemployment rates are near 70%.
- Study teams from organizations such as Science for Peace, UNICEF, OXFAM, The Canadian
Friends Service Committee and The Gulf Peace Team U.K. also compiled information on the
devastating environmental damage of the war. Hundreds of oil well fires caused acid rain
and soil contamination that disrupted agriculture, and spread soot as far as the
Himalayas. Millions of barrels of oil were spilled into the sea causing widespread
destruction to coral reefs, sea-grass beds, and 460 miles of coastline. Over a million
migratory birds were killed, as well as large numbers of dolphins and marine turtles.
- Contrary to the International Red Cross Geneva Convention resolutions, which require
warring parties to distinguish between civilians and military and to avoid civilian
targets, civilian damage included massive gratuitous violence and destruction. Carpet
bombing techniques destroyed water filtration plants and hydro-electric facilities,
electricity in hospitals was shut off, and Iraq was pushed back into pre-industrial times.
Iraq's agricultural and water treatment facilities were destroyed, its electrical systems
were crippled, and air attacks were carried out against clearly marked civilian vehicles.
Iraq and Kuwait are still full of unexploded bombs and land mines. Democratic opposition
in Iraq has been greatly weakened, and attacks by the Iraqi government continued on the
Kurds throughout 1991-2.
- George Bush was replaced by the younger, fresher Bill Clinton while Saddam Hussein
remains in power, despite the last-minute bombing attempts at election time. The Kurdish
people learned that, in the long run, they couldn't rely upon the American administration.
The American people have learned alternative perspectives on war are becoming increasingly
rare as government sophistication increases. Vietnam protests have become a thing of the
past. The U.S. government will continue to justify their incredible military budget, so
the absurd spectacle of war will continue to occur at regular intervals: major conflicts
every 15- 20 years, with several minor skirmishes in between as the military-industrial
complex plays realpolitik games with their expensive toys at the trifle expense of human
"The first casualty when war comes is truth"
- - Senator Hiram Johnson
- U.S. Senate speech, 1917
- Transcript courtesy of:
- Prevailing Winds Research
- P.O. Box 23511
- Santa Barbara, CA
Iraqi borders were established by the British in 1923. Saddam
Hussein believed that he had a legitimate claim to Kuwait for many reasons, including the
fact that before 1923 both Kuwait and Iraq were parts of the same Ottoman Empire.
Inquiries can be made to:
- Hill & Knowlton
- Electronic Media Services
- 901 31st Street N.W.
- Washington D.C. 20007
- (202) 333-7400
Ronald Reagan consulted an astrologer throughout his career as
President of the United States (which, I suppose is not quite so bad as a certain former
Canadian Prime Minister who received political advice from his dog, whom he believed to be
possessed by the ghost of his dead mother). Reagan was also well-remembered for his SDI "Star
Wars" plan, and for his long-term commercial career with General Electric,
which owns the NBC network and NBC news, has been the world's largest producer of nuclear
weapons, and has a GNP larger than most mid-sized countries.
Before taking on the Kuwait account, Hill & Knowlton
vice president Gary Hymel worked to downplay Turkey's habitual torture, killing, and
unjust imprisonment of its own citizens, the persecution of its Kurdish minority, and its
violent war against Greece in Cyprus.
Since 1975, Indonesia has occupied the former Portuguese colony of East Timor and conducted a brutally
repressive cultural genocide that has killed 250,000 - over one-third of the indigenous
Timorese population. Massive human rights violations continue, largely due to the
diplomatic support of countries like Canada.
An extensive history of the Spanish-atrocities propaganda, such as
the demonization of Cuban general Valeriano "Butcher" (sound familiar?) Weyler
that helped fuel American intervention in Cuba in 1898, and of the British depiction of
WWI German army as a barbarian horde committing unspeakable crimes against women and
children, can be found in The First Casualty by Philip Knightley.
On November 8, 1990 Citizens for a Free Kuwait donated
$50,000 to the Human Rights Foundation (of course, legally separate from the Human
Rights Caucus) which occupies free office space valued at $3,000 a year in Hill
& Knowlton's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
The revolving presidency of the council had landed on the United
States that day, allowing U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering to preside over the meeting.
Bush's hypocritical exploitation of Amnesty International to justify the war effort was
illustrated by his subsequent refusal to meet with Amnesty
officials on other issues, including atrocities in newly liberated Kuwait. Bush had first
exploited the fears and concerns of other Americans during the 1988 presidential
elections, when the American marketing industry had him successfully elected by running
him in a racist campaign against the Black rapist/murderer William (a.k.a. Willie) Horton,
instead of against the Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis.
George Bush unilaterally forgave Egypt's multi-billion dollar debt
in exchange for their vote. For China's vote, he agreed to extend unilateral loans of $140
million and overlook condemnation for slaughtering over 1,000 students at a pro-democracy
rally in Tienamen Square. The Soviet union was promised $7 billion in economic aid,
Columbia and Zaire were promised further military assistance, Saudi Arabia was promised
$12 billion in arms in exchange for their vote, and the U.S. agreed to finally pay off the
$187 million in back fees to the U.N. that were withheld under the Reagan presidency.
After Yemen voted against the war resolution all U.S. aid to that country was terminated.
Interview with Dr. James Winter for Desert Swarm on CBC
Radio's Prime Time with Jeff Pavir, January 26th and 27th 1993.
The Crusades were racist bloody military expeditions designed to
increase the power and prestige of the papacy, though killing hundreds of thousands of
peasants, children, and those unfortunate to be non-Christian, and failing in terms of any
military objectives. They were launched 900 years ago
by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095, with a militant propaganda speech
that would have put even an American President and former head of the CIA to shame.
According to former CIA agent John Stockwell and others, this war
was also known as Operation Desert Swarm, The Super Bowl War, The
Made-for-Television War, The Women Have a Right To Kill, Die and Be Captured Too
War, The Censored War, The Saddam Hussein Is So Evil We Have To Do It War,
The I've Got To Support Our Troops Right Or Wrong War, and Operation Desert
Fortunately for the U.S. War Machine, the American public was
frightened by the menacing sound of the word 'Scud', due to the auditory effect of
combining the words 'scam & dud', 'scar & crud', 'scum & mud',
or 'skull & blood'.
Testosterone, the hormone that provokes male sexuality, can provoke
violence when found in excessive amounts in males living in a precarious or apprehensive
environment. Laboratory research quoted in Michael Hutchinson's The Anatomy of Sex and
Power (1990) reveals that when both boys and girls are given testosterone, their
violent behaviour increases. Research in Kinsey's Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male
(1948) notes that males are most sexually active between age 17 and 24: the peak years for
violent crimes by males. Research quoted by Hutchinson on wrestlers and tennis-players
also indicates that winning at competitive sports causes a temporary increase in
testosterone. This may explain why wars - large- scale competitive acts of violence - are
usually orchestrated by men over 60, such as George Bush, with declining levels of
testosterone. The booster effect of victory in war may be what former U.S. Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger meant when he said, "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac".
The name 'George Herbert Walker Bush' with every letter
permutated forms Huge Berserk Rebel Warthog, just as Insane Anglo Warlord is
found through the permutation of 'Ronald Wilson Reagan'.
Most American's could not even point out Kuwait on a map before the
war. In this respect, the Gulf War could be considered to have been a constructive and
educational exercise beneficial for the American public, of whom an estimated 90 million
are only semi-literate.
The genocidal occupation of East Timor by Indonesian forces is one
example of a story gone largely unreported in the major
news media, possibly due to the fact that the island produces no oil.
From the foundation of the American Empire to the end of WWII, the
U.S. war machine was once more honestly referred to as The War Department.
This term is as much of an oxymoron as the phrase "fighting
American army propaganda
commercials never depict actual combat scenes, let alone casualties such as blown off
legs, when they attempt to romanticise the army. In their attempts to entice eligible
victims to be all that they can be (to kill and die to protect the political
interest of their leaders), powerful incentives are offered such as financial assistance
for college, and respect upon returning home. One army commercial depicting a young
soldier returning home to be embraced and forgiven by his father was played during the Super
Bowl and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The intended message was that by
joining the army all your sins will be forgiven by an attentive father-figure (not the
beer-swilling couch potato you're accustomed to).
The Iraqi leader's name was alternately pronounced as: Sodom
(as in Sodomize) Hussein, rhyming with Goddam Insane, or as SAH-dam (rhymes
with Satan) - a derogatory term in Arabic.
According to Greenpeace
reports, the oil spills in the Persian Gulf were at least partially caused by the allied
bombing of Iraqi oil tankers.
Norman Schwartzkopf - hero of Desert Storm - quickly became a
celebrity and contender for People Magazine's Sexiest Main Alive award.
The term "Satan" is derivative from the Hebrew HaShatan
(lit: the adversary) as mentioned first in the book of Job, and has a similar
meaning in other Semitic languages such as Arabic and Persian. What the Ayatollah meant
was that the U.S. was the Great Enemy; after all, it had supplied the arms to Iraq
during their war against Iran. The Ayatollah's comments were therefore mistranslated and
misinterpreted, much in the same way that Japan's response to U.S. requests for surrender
following the bombing of Hiroshima
resulted in the subsequent bombing of Nagasaki.
- Chomsky, Noam
Year 501: The Conquest Continues. New York: Black Rose Books, 1993.
- Chomsky, Noam and
Herman, Edward S. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.
New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.
- Docherty, Neil To Sell a War. The 5th Estate, host: Lyndon MacIntyre.
Toronto: CBC Television, 1991.
- MacArthur, John R. Second Front - Censorship & Propaganda in the Gulf War.
New York: Hill and Wang, 1992.
- Pavir, Jeff Desert Swarm - an interview with Dr. James Winter, author of Common
Sense: Media Portrayal of the Gulf War. Toronto: CBC Radio's Prime Time, January 26
& 27, 1993.
- Pearson, David The Media and Government Deception. Berkeley: Propaganda Review,
- Sheehan, Daniel The Persian Gulf War, Covert Operations and the New World Order.
Speech - The Victoria Theater, Santa Barbara, California March 21, 1991. Transcript by Prevailing
Winds Research PO Box 23511, Santa Barbara, CA 93121
- Stockwell, John The Praetorian Guard in the Persian Gulf. Speech - U.C. Santa
Barbara, California, February 22, 1991. Transcript by Prevailing Winds Research PO
Box 23511, Santa Barbara, CA 93121