Letter from Dr. Said to President-Elect Bill Clinton
December 10, 1992
President-Elect Bill Clinton
Little Rock, AR
Dear Mr. Clinton:
I am sending you this letter before the inauguration date in January 20, 1993 hoping that you have a better chance to read my letter and to look at the extensive materials included while you are at Little Rock, rather than at the White House. I had a bad experience with the White House, since I sent many letters and telegrams during the Carter, Reagan and the Bush administration without response regarding many political issues. The only time I received a reply was at the beginning when Mr. John Sununu, as Chief of Staff, acknowledged receiving materials and a letter from me which he forward to the State Department in Washington, D.C. I know, Mr. Clinton that you genuinely want to be a popular President, you would like to be in touch with the people, and I know, from my personal experience, that the people who surround any particular leader have real power, who can reach the leader, and talk to him, with what kind of letter they allow to go through. Unfortunately, many times, they allow only the letters or telegrams which have some political benefit in the news media to go through. I believe they will do a dis-service to you if they follow that procedure. They should be able to read the letters and make a summary and pass the ideas to you and at least they should acknowledge receiving those letters and write back to the people.
During my life, I wrote hundreds of letters to important people including politicians and personalities. I also met with leaders such as King Faisall of Saudi Arabia, King Khaled of Saudi Arabia, President Hashemi Rafsanjani of Iran, when he was the speaker of Parliament, Crown Prince of Jordan during a trade mission from the United States, and many others in Europe and the United States. The most important meeting I eagerly sought was to meet with Chairman Arafat and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Unfortunately, I was only able to talk to them less than a minute. The letters I gave to their assistants probably never reached them. Unfortunately, I found those leaders to be dictatorial, somehow isolated from the people, surrounded by the elite, acting like the mafia. When I went to Baghdad in August of 1990, after the Iraqi invaded Kuwait, I met with the minister of Information whom I convinced to allow me to go to Kuwait. Being the only one to video Kuwait, using a CNN camera, I carried a letter to Mr. Saddam Hussein asking him to address the American people and answer the specific points of major concern to the United States, mainly if he is going to get out of Kuwait and when, and second what about the oil and the threat to Saudi Arabia, his military machine and the threat to his neighbors and the use of chemical weapons against his own people. I told him in that letter, that the American people were not going to leave the Baseball or the Cosby Show to listen to Saddam Hussein for one hour or more. He therefore should be specific, and his speech should not be more than ten minutes. Unfortunately, the Minister of Information did not have the courage to even look at the letter, or to take it. When I went to Kuwait and used the CNN camera and came back, I wrote an analysis of what I had seen in Kuwait, there was looting and oppression and this had to be stopped. I do not believe that he did anything about the letter. When I went back to Iraq to attend the Islamic Conference in Baghdad in January 11, 1991, five days before the war started, I talked with Saddam Hussein for less than a minute, and gave a letter to his assistant telling him that he is going into a trap, and his country is going to be destroyed unless he declared his intention to withdraw from Kuwait. I suggested that he address the American people and to appear with his wife, children and grandchildren as I wrote the speech for him in Arabic. I have no doubt that this letter did not reach him, since his assistant did not dare to give him a letter advising him to appear with his wife. Unfortunately, I was unable to meet with him. Had I been allowed, it would have been the most important meeting in his life, since none of his advisers knew about what was happening on the outside, and no one had the courage to tell him the facts. When I attended the Palestinian National Council in Algiers, in 1988, and then as an observer, or as a guest with the Palestinian Delegation to the General Assembly in Geneva, one month later, I was astonished to find out that Mr. Arafat who was supposed to be popular, was anything but that. When I wrote him a letter explaining about my meeting with our delegation at the General Assembly and the verbal message, our ambassador Vernon Walters told me to pass on to Mr. Arafat to say in private what he says in public. My first advice to him was not to speak in English in his press conference since he did not know English well. He did not know how to express his thoughts and ideas. One of his advisers told me they knew this all along, but no one ever dared to tell him that. Apparently, he did listen to my advice and conducted that conference in English. which opened the way for the dialogue between the US administration and the PLO in December, in 1988.
I hope, Mr. Clinton, that you will keep your door open to read my letters and others, since we are living in a democracy. In order to be sure that this letter and this material will reach you, I decided to send copies of this letter and the material to a few people who are close to you, hoping that one of them will pass it on to you. If I do not get any reply within two to three weeks, I will try to find a way to deliver this letter to you, even if I have to pay somebody to track down where you will be making a speech and give it to you. I’m not going to explain in detail, about my personal and political life. It’s already detailed in my biography and the platform which I included and those are the ones which were widely distributed when I ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in the US primary from the State of Washington. You will find very interesting and refreshing ideas about health care, foreign policy, environment, transportation, taxes, campaigns, and PAC’s, etc. You will find, also, extensive materials and interviews in the last several years. As you can see, I am a long time Democrat and though at the beginning, i was a delegate for Jerry Brown, after the Democratic Convention, I supported you in every way I could. When you passed sometime in July, in Spokane, Washington, I went there hoping to meet with you with the others at the Hotel. Unfortunately, I was unable to do that. I was in touch with your headquarters in Little Rock, and I talked with Anne Satterfield who was in the communication department. I am including the two letters I faxed to her and she told me she would pass those letters to a higher level, which I understood to be George Stephanopolis. In my letter I suggested to go after the Moslem groups vote, five to seven million of them, who are concentrated in a few states, such as California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey. When I did not hear from your headquarters, I talked to many of the leaders, particularly in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan to vote for you. I did talk to your headquarters in Ohio. I addressed the Islamic Convention of the Western zone in July 4, 1992. I mentioned that the most important factor for the Moslems was protection of their brothers and sisters in Bosnia. Early in the campaign, I suggested this when I called your headquarters in Little Rock, since Mr. Bush failed to address this major issue. However, most of my contribution was to expose President Bush over the Gulf war, since I opposed that Gulf war from the beginning, supporting an economic embargo and other political means, to push the Iraqi out of Kuwait. I held five international conferences during 1990 and during the war in 1991; two in Amman, Jordan, two at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and one at the United Nations. I was interviewed many times by Television stations and newspapers across the country and I made every effort so that Mr. Bush would not be re-elected. At many of these press conferences, I predicted that Mr. Bush would be a one time president.
The reason for this letter is to offer my service in the public interests administration. I am very well established as a physician, I am not a I am a medical doctor who knows a lot about politics. I feel I tremendous job in the following areas:
1. Healthcare. First, I am a physician with one of the highest medical degrees in the United States. I hold a PhD in Preventive and Social Medicine from Madrid, Spain. A diploma in Public Health from the University of Toronto, Canada. Board certifications in Family Practice, internal Medicine and Geriatrics. I am very familiar with the Canadian system where I did training. I practiced in Europe and the Middle East. I did missionary work in Northern Africa and other parts of the Middle East. I worked in the United States at the Veterans Administration – the University, the HMO, and private practice and being, for the last ten years, in the State of Washington. As a platform member of the Democratic party of Washington Stat., I participated and practically wrote the health section of the platform for the last six years. I believe in a One-payer and Federally funded system. My system is unique, since I feel there is duplication and waste of service. I would recommend there be only one Federal service, abolishing Medicare, Medicaid, the VA system and even the Armed Forces where other facilities are available. Co-payment would be from 0 to 50% depending on the income. More concentration on Preventative medicine and not the simple prolongation of life at any cost. Also, to get away from defensive medicine and put a cap and even eliminate pain and suffering and restrict the mal-practice insurance by legislation from Congress. Liberalization of prescription drugs to be available over the counter, including antibiotics. I have details about all of this. I am not somebody who is reading from books and statistics in Harvard, or Stanford University, but a physician who is right there in the trenches treating patients, Welfare, Medicare, and others, and I know how to reduce the cost by 30% or more. No one has the courage to come out and say it. There is much waste, and everyone is trying to maximize, or in other words, screw everybody else. Health providers, they shift patients from one place to the other and they do many unnecessary procedures, especially on the elderly. The elderly themselves are very demanding. They want the best, but they don’t want to pay for it. I still believe part of the bankrupt system is going to be caused by the elderly. I believe the most cost effective treatment of the elderly is for them to stay with their families and give every incentive and help to the families to take care of their elderly. It would be difficult to do this, especially among the Anglo Saxon, or the North European ancestry, but the Afro American, the Latinos, the Moslems and the new born Christians and Fundamentalists, have very close family ties and they would be able to take care of their elderly. Part of my program you will see in my platform. but I would be able to do much more and present a detailed program. If I am Secretary of Health, I have no doubt in my mind, I will cut down the cost at 30% or more in four years. If this is only a dream, I could help as a member of the advisory committee on Health.
2. As Director of the United States agency for International Development. I was born in Haifa, which is now part of Israel. I lived my teenage and early adult life in the West Bank, I studied in Jordan and Spain and immigrated to Canada and the United States. I visited many of the countries of North Africa, the Middle East and Europe. I know exactly how I can create a model of this International Development Agency. What we need over there is not a hand out but to teach them how to care for themselves, and we act only as expertise, taking into consideration their cultures and their environment, etc. With little money that investment would come back to us with a good return. By creating a good economic condition, there market would open up to us. We have to concentrate in nutrition, particularly for the children. We have to introduce good family planning in those countries and I know how to implement that in those countries. especially in the Moslem countries which number over one billion people. To concentrate on preventive medicine, particularly immunization. Promotion of democracy and human rights. I believe I could be most effective, especially considering my background. I also speak many languages, among them Spanish, Arabic. English and others.
3. The Arab Israeli conflict. I strongly believe I could do a tremendous job in this area. During the last six years, I have been a member of the Washington State Democratic Platform Committee. I wrote many of the resolutions regarding foreign policy and national security. In 1988, I was the one who authored the resolution calling for a Palestinian State, or entity alongside Israel. I carried that resolution which was adopted by unanimous vote at the Washington Democratic Convention in Olympia in 1988. That resolution was drafted by me, with the help of other Jewish main stream activists. I carried that resolution to Algeria, and I believe I made tremendous impact to get that resolution to go through, helping the Palestinians accept that resolution 242 and 338. One month later, when I was invited as a guest to the Palestinian Delegation to the General assembly, I believe, I contributed positively to the opening of the dialogue between the PLO and the US administration and the explicit recognition without condition of Israel, without putting any if or when or why. I am originally from there. My sister, my cousin and my relatives are still in the West Bank. I have a very good relationship with the Palestinian establishment, including the Islamic group, and it’s very important to moderate their position. I am not going to be an “Uncle Tom”, trying to carry on a policy imposed only on them, but through persuasion and dialogue, I feel I can moderate their positions quite well. I know quite well their culture, traditions, and psychology. It is important that one of us be involved and this is important, because for so long the ones who dealt with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were pro—Israeli 100%. It’s just like asking the fox to guard the chicken coop. I do not think we should look at this conflict as being pro or anti, we should all of us be pro-peace, pro United States national interest, pro reconciliation and co-existence, pro Clinton and Hilary, which I believe you and Hilary are for this. I would like to be a member of a team which includes American-Jews and American-Christians, to try to bridge the gap between Arabs and Jews. Indeed on January 16, 1993, I am leading a delegation from the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and the Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility from the State of Washington to go to Israel, as being invited. I will take the delegation to the West Bank and Gaza, and try to establish a chapter in those areas and have a joint meeting with the Israelis, somewhere in Jerusalem, and this will create a contact and a human element between those two Semites. Mr. Clinton, I feel I can do a great job in bridging the gap between the Arabs and the Jews, particularly between the Palestinians and the Israeli’s. Resolving this conflict is not just good from the moral standpoint, but also it makes economic sense. We spend so much money on this conflict. My estimation is the United States is spending over eleven billion dollars a year because of this conflict which includes the aid to Israel, to Egypt and the loss of business because of our companies being black listed in the Arab countries, as they do business with Israel. The loss of income by not doing business with those countries which we consider to be radicals. Beefing up our embassies and military presence in the Middle East, the psychological impact. etc. all is wasted, and if we resolve this conflict, the Israeli will not need any grant or aid from the United States. They have the talent, the technology and with the countries in the Middle East, with the Petrol dollar and the labor forces, they could create a great region, very prosperous. You’ll see, in my platform and interviews, how I’ve been committed to peace and reconciliation. Even in 1980, more than 12 years ago. I wrote an article in the Medical Tribune asking to rename the country of Palestine as Abraham, who was the father of both Arab and Jews, so that there children can live together in peace.
4. Trade with the Moslem countries. I feel I can do a tremendous job in this aspect. I am, by nature, a business man. I joined the first trade mission in 1976 when it was headed by the then Governor of North Dakota, Mr. Arthur Link. It was at that time that I met my wife, Nadia, and got married during that trip. I have very good contacts with many Moslems on this planet, through my organizations, through my contact and trips and I feel I can be a force to open communications between the United State and the Moslem world, over one billion people who need every bit of our products, our technologies, etc. Just to mention Iraq, with their infrastructure, to be rebuilt at the cost of over 30 billion dollars and when I say infrastructure, I do not mean military. We are not going to give them ~he service for free. They have oil, they have resources to pay us back. Then there is Iran, whom I had a chance to meet with their President in the past, and the former Moslem countries of the Soviet Union, there are six of them. All those countries could be potentially very big traders with us. Unfortunately, our concentration has been with Japan and Europe and our trade with those countries is more balanced on their side. We import more than we export to them, and that would be the opposite with those Moslem countries. There are seven million Moslems in this country and potentially they could be a very active community and could be rock solid Democrats, similar to the Jewish communities. I am working on that.
This is just some of the areas I mentioned. I believe I can be of great help to your administration.
In the next few days, I’ll be leaving to attend an Islamic Conference in Baghdad, and this time I will try to meet With President Saddam Hussein and give him the letters which I handed to his assistants in my previous trips, so he can see how accurate were my analysis, and how my advice would have been very good to his country. I am a very strong advocate of human rights and democracy in the Arab and the Moslem World which unfortunately has not made many in roads. I intend to form a trade mission sometime in the Spring of next year to go to the Moslem countries to open communications in terms of cultures and trade. I intend to form this mission of businessmen, politicians and educators.
I look at our mission in Somalia. I feel very proud as we are indeed the real super power, not in military might, but in compassion and heart. I wish we can do similar things in Bosnia. I hope I will get a reply from you. I’ve enclosed my materials. If there are any questions during my trip, my wife Nadia will give me the message, even if I am still overseas.
Finally, in your speeches and your transitional team, you put emphasis that the Administration will be a reflection of what America is all about. The diversification of culture, ethnic, religion and minorities, etc. However, I can say very frankly you have to include Moslems in this diversification. They are part of this country and they are growing and the expectation is that they will be the largest group in this country after Christians. Unfortunately at the present time, you cannot find one single Moslem in Congress or in the Administration. Those few Arab Americans who had been in public service or in Congress are all of Christian faith, born in the United States. This is why I present myself as one of those Arab American Moslems of Palestinian background.
I will be glad to come to Little Rock and meet with you or with any of the Transitional team. I can be reached at my toll free number 1-800-HELLO DR, or at my home number, 509-787-4358.
Mohammad H. Said, M. D.
Democratic Central Committee
Grant County, Washington State