Where was our state of the art, watchdog...GGRRRRR...media when
in the fall of 1990, members of Congress and the public were moved by the weepy testimony of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, Nayirah.
In the girl's testimony before a congressional caucus, she described how, as a volunteer in a Kuwait maternity ward, she had seen Iraqi troops storm her hospital, steal the incubators, and leave 312 babies "on the cold floor to die." 'Let's kill those stinkin' Iraqis'.
Seven US Senators later referred to the story during debate; the motion for war passed by just five votes. Got those numbers? Seven and five.
President Bush senior invoked the incident five times, saying that such "ghastly atrocities" were like "Hitler revisited."
'Let's bomb those miserable bastards'.
But just weeks before the US bombing campaign began in January, a few, very few, press reports began to raise questions about the validity of the incubator tale. Of course those questions were never answered. Hey, who's side are you on? The baby killers?
After the bombing, ( And yes, many babies were killed, but they were 'collateral babies' ) it was learned that Nayirah was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington and had no connection to the Kuwait hospital.
She had been coached by senior executives of Hill and Knowlton in Washington, the biggest global PR firm at the time, which had a contract worth more than $10 million with the Kuwaitis to make the case for war. And the Oscar goes to..................NAYIRAH! Best supporting role in a dark comedy goes to.............................George Bush Sr.
"We didn't know it wasn't true at the time," Brent Scowcroft, Bush's national security adviser, said of the incubator story in a 1995 interview with the London-based Guardian newspaper. He acknowledged, "it was useful in mobilizing public opinion." A lie was useful in mobilizing public opinion. Big deal. Everybody makes mistakes. Sound familiar?
So, the question is, with the exception of a few lost news hounds, where were our media lap dogs before the bombing?
Where were they post-war when the hoax was uncovered, and real dead babies could be counted? Did the media ever demand an apology from President Bush? Did it ever press for an explanation? Was it ever front page headline news? Surely, If the war was justified, it had to be for legitimate reasons without emotional flourishes or fiction. Our media let that one slither by. And that was before 9/11, when the media at least pretended to speak truth to power.