Letter to President Bush regarding the Gulf War
May 20, 1991
Dear Mr. President
I was planning to send you this letter as a telegram, 2 weeks ago, but because of your recent medical incident, I figured out that thousands of telegrams and letters will be coming to the White House and that my telegram would be lost among them, so I waited until now. I called the White House and talked to a lady who gave me your FAX number, and that will make it more economical to send it as a letter, FAXed, rather than as a telegram, though I consider this letter to be so urgent and so important, especially as the news is coming out from Kuwait about this what is called trial of non—Kuwaiti nationals. Hopefully the staff at the White House will give you this letter. It is going to be included in my book, which is going to be published in a few weeks, regarding my personal experience about the Gulf War. I was deeply involved as a co—founder of peace groups and as Chairman of the last year, newly founded Arab—Americans Against Military Intervention.
I went twice to Baghdad and Kuwait, first in September 1990 and in January 1991. I was the first and the only one to visit Kuwait in September 1990 after I persuaded the Iraqi Minister of Information to allow me to use a CNN camera to Video Kuwait and make interviews. And I was the last and the only one to Video Kuwait again before the war broke out. Since I left Kuwait on January 16, 1991 only 6 hours before the war started. Having to endure 3 days of bombardment close to Baghdad.
The reason for this letter is important and very urgent, it is related to my family and relatives, in Kuwait. Three weeks ago, my brother, Ibrahim, who went to Kuwait in 1960, before its independence and has been working since, was very frightened about his only son Khalil, 24 years old, born in Kuwait, was in hiding from Kuwaitis wearing camouflage American uniforms came to his house, smashing furniture and looking for his son, and had they found him, he would have been either dead or in prison. My brother-in-Law, Hassan Sahtut is still in prison and had it not been for my wife’s frantic call to the International Red Cross, to find him and to get him out of jail for a short time and treat him in the hospital of wounds inflicted by beating. My brother—in—law would be dead by now, considering that he is diabetic. That will leave his wife and two children. His case number through the International Red Cross is 300-062. My cousin called me two weeks ago, they took his son Saad, who is 20 years old, born in Kuwait, they beat him for no reason except that they saw him having chewing gum in his mouth, and when they asked him to spit it out, they did not like the way he did it, so they took him and beat him for more than 24 hours, and had it not been for some connection to get him out of jail, he would be sitting here. When his Mom called me, she was in tears. She said she had been wanting to talk in the beginning about those atrocities and brutality against the Palestinians by the Kuwaitis but she was silent, she could not say anything, but now, when it comes to her children, she will not be silent any more.
Some of my relatives died during the escape from Kuwait on the road to Jordan. I hear news coming from friends in Kuwait about the Kuwaitis looting the Palestinians houses arresting them without charges, murdering and torturing them, and just last week, a friend told me that Mahmud Alschwa, a very prominent Palestinian from Gaza had his car taken, and his house looted.
It is so ironic, Mr. President, that my brother was quite a sympathizer with the Kuwaitis during to the Iraqi .presence in Kuwait. His daughter is married to a Kuwaiti national, his name is Ahmad Shuman and his son Khalil, who the Kuwaiti were looking for, was helping the Kuwaiti resistance. My brother—in—law was working with prominent Kuwaiti, El Kahled, and when he took me from Kuwait to Baghdad, back in Sept of 1990, he told me ‘that he has to cooperate with the Iraqis in order to recover more than 400 cars taken from his Kuwaiti employer, and he was so critical of the Iraqis that I was concerned about his safety by the Iraqis. All those people have only one common denominator, that they are Palestinians and if those people who are very well known to be sympathizers to the Kuwaitis, what has happened and what is happening to the Palestinians who have no connections?
What bothers me, Mr. President, is that I did not hear one word from you about those atrocities being committed against Palestinians, when I see here in your speech of Oct.15, 1990:
“Every day now, new work filters out of Kuwait about the ghastly atrocities perpetrated by Saddam’s forces.. .of a systematic assault on the soul of a nation, summary executions, routine torture… newborn babies thrown out of incubators.. .dialysis patients ripped from their machines.. .Hitler revisited. But remember, when Hitler’s war ended there were the Nuremberg trials.”
Well, Mr. President, you rushed to war in order to justify rescuing the Kuwaitis from those brutal atrocities on moral grounds, when many of those reports were either exaggerated, or totally fabricated and lies. There were no newborn babies thrown out of incubators, no dialysis patients ripped from their machines, because I went twice and I interviewed doctors, including Kuwaitis in private, I interviewed hospital nurses, I brought the daily book from those hospitals showing no newborn babies died during that time. I saw dialysis machines are stored in other parts of the hospital. I have everything on video. I held four international press conferences in Sept. of 1990 and in January 1991, 2 in Amman, Jordan and 2 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. and one at the United Nations the day they voted for military action. I have been interviewed by both radio talk shows and local and national newspapers about this. I could not believe that none of those reports have reached you, Mr. President. I wonder if this is a cover up, or the people surrounding you kept you out of touch.
When I went the second time to Baghdad, on January 11, 1991, to attend the Islamic conference, I talked briefly to Mr. Saddam Hussein at the conference and I delivered a letter to him through his assistant, which would have been the most important letter he would have received in his life, since in that letter I explained to him that there was a trap to lure him into war in order to destroy his military and economic structure, that his country will go back thirty years. I told him in my letter, there is one way to avoid this catastrophe is to declare his intentions to pull out of Kuwait because nothing else would be accepted. I told him if the hour of truth comes, he will be fighting the Allies by himself and those rhetorics from the Arabs and Moslem countries will not materialize in any action to help him. I do not believe that he ever received that letter, and there are many issues I am publishing in my book. I am wondering Mr. President if this letter will reach you. I hope so.
What also bothers me is that those prominent Americans, such as Stephen Solarz, Tom Lantos, Henry Kissinger, Richard Perle, David Horowitz, Mort Zucherman and others who were so much pushing for the war and mentioning about the atrocities being committed, by the Iraqis did not say any word about those same atrocities are being committed against the Palestinians. Where is this double standard? When Mr. Tom Lantos held a hearing about those atrocities committed by the Iraqis, I talked to his office, and sent a letter to him to allow me to appear before his committee to refute some of those allegations. I got no response. But Mr. President, I am putting you as responsible to do something about it, and I believe you CAN do something about it. We paid with our blood and money to liberate Kuwait, and they better listen, and if nothing is going to be done, I can assure you, Mr. President and tens of Americans who had relatives and friends tortured by the Kuwaitis will be there, every where you go to speak during you campaign and before that, to remind the American people and the voters about this hypocrisy and double standard. We will hold you responsible for the safety of our families and relatives.
I will be waiting for your reply, Mr. President, and I will be waiting for a note from the office that this letter will be delivered to you, Mr. President. If I do not get any response, I will be distributing this letter to the News Media, to members of Congress, to the Embassies and to the United Nations asking for hearings about those atrocities committed by the Kuwaitis. I am also enclosing some materials of interest to you.
God keep you in good health and bless the United States of America.
Mohammad H. Said, M.D.