Statement presented by Dr. Said to the commission of inquiry about crimes in the Gulf War
September 25, 1991
Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes
Tribunal in the Gulf
Distinguished Members of the Commission of Inquiry:
I am Dr. Mohammad H. Said from Ephrata, Eastern Washington. With deep sorrow and sadness I give my thoughts and testimony about the war crimes committed in the Gulf. As many of you know, I was here approximately two months ago when I gave a lengthy statement. I have been deeply involved in this Gulf crisis since August of 1990 when Iraq went into Kuwait. I had been twice to the area including Kuwait and Baghdad; first in September, 1990 and again in January, 1991 a few days before the war started and during the war.
I am very happy to meet personally with a Distinguished American who represents the good and the descent in our country. Who signifies the true meaning of our Constitution to tell the truth and to defend it even though it may be unpopular, and this is what Ramsey Clark, former attorney general of the United States, had been doing all his life and particularly in this time of crisis.
Before I go into more details and be more specific about what I found and saw, I would like to mention some thoughts I already raised during my five international press conferences in Amman Jordan, National Press Club in Washington D.C. and at the United Nations in New York.
This war had been described by different analysts and strategists, President Saddam Hussein wanted to call it the “Mother of All Battles” but ended up called the mother of anything it was called “The Mother of All Retreats, The Mother of All Orphans, The Mother of All Miscalculations” and I may add to that description as “The Mother of All Cover-ups and Misinformation”. As I mentioned in my previous speech to you, I am in the process of writing my book entitled “The Mother of All Miscalculations and The Thyroid Connection” as I will mention briefly in this statement.
The big question before the war and after the war is, was it worth it? It all depends on how you analyze the issues and how much accurate information you get. For those people who got their information from the news media, manipulated and directed by the Pentagon and the State Department, it was worth it because Saddam Hussein was an evil force. He invaded and swallowed a little country so that he could control the source of oil to the free world. He was brutal to his country. He accumulated nuclear chemical and biological weapons. He was a very threat to his neighbors and it was better to take care of him now rather than five years down the road.
But for others who got the facts and the correct information, like us, it was not worth it. It had been too much destruction. There was an economic embargo on Iraq which had been working and the proof that Iraq is on its knees to sell its oil, the only commo~1ity they have.
The analysts tell of many reasons for this war. Was it Saddam Hussein control over the oil? I don’t think so since, Iraq needed to sell its oil and was not going to wreck the world economy. After my meeting with the Iraqi Minister of Information in September of 1990, I sent an important letter to the editors at the only English newspaper in Baghdad, The Baghdad Observer, that the Iraqi were willing to make a commitment with other OPEC members that a barrel of oil would not exceed $25.00 for the next five years. Secondly, was it because Iraq threatened Saudi Arabia? But this was completely false. Saudi Arabia was coerced by the United States to agree to the American deployment after two or three days of intensive pressure. In my press conferences, I questioned the pictures which were shown to King Fahd by Dick Cheney about Iraqi being very close to the border and their intent to invade. I question those pictures which might have been taken from the Mojave Desert in California rather than in Saudi Arabia.
When we get access to those pictures through the Freedom of Information Act, we might be able to tell what has gone behind the scene between Dick Cheney and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. It is a well known fact, that if Iraq wanted Saudi Arabia, they would have gone without obstacle during the first week of invasion.
During my trips to Baghdad, I heard from Iraqi officials that the military orders to the Iraqis on the ground in Kuwait was not to come closer to the Saudi borders. I urged the Iraqis, at that time, to make public of those orders. It was a known fact, that Iraq had no territorial claim on Saudi Arabia. They had a treaty with Saudi Arabia. But by the contrary, they did have claims on Kuwait which was part of the province of Basra, Iraq, for more than a thousand years until sixty years ago when it was split by Great Britain from Iraq to keep control over Kuwait and its oil. Was it because of Iraqi’s Saddam Hussein, a brutal dictator? I don’t think ~o, since we supported and continue to support so many dictators around the world. Saddam Hussein was our friend until before the invasion of Kuwait in August, 1990. We supported him during the Iraqi Iranian war. We knew him very well and if he is truly a brutal dictator, he is no worse than others in his region. If he used excess force against his population, so did many other leaders in the Middle East and around the world. Just to mention a few; Romanian President Chanchescu, who was a brutal dictator and was our friend only a few years ago. He was the only country from Eastern Europe who enjoyed most favored nations on trade with the United States.
The Pol Pot regime of Cambodia, real murderers who killed more than one million of their own people had their representatives in New York until a year ago and had a contact with the U.S. government. Other dictators who were brutal such as the Syrian and our allies in the Gulf war and our most spoiled baby, the Israeli government who had been brutalizing the Palestinians for so long.
If Iraq used chemicals weapons and was in the process of developing nuclear arms, it was much better to focus on the whole region of the Middle East and make the area free of nuclear chemicals and biological weapons, which includes not just Iraq but also Israel who already had all those armaments with long range missiles to deliver them. In our Washington Democratic Convention last year in June, 1990 in Spokane, and being a delegate, I introduced a resolution which was passed, dealing with this issue to make the Middle East free of nuclear/ chemicals and biological weapons. I believe this should be the policy of the U.S. government. Not picking on any particular country alone, like they are doing now with Iraq. They should consider other countries who might be a threat to the region and their neighbors, such as the Iranians and the Israelis who already have or in the process of developing these weapons.
In my judgment, the real reason for going into war was a personal one from President Bush which was purely political for his re-election in 1992. He wanted to divert attention from domestic policies and wanted a “cheap shot” and success in foreign policy by kicking off the Vietnam syndrome, by destroying a country which is basically a third world country, underdeveloped who was made to appear through the news media as having the fourth largest army in the World and its leader as evil and an reincarnation of Hitler. It was a war between a white man with his guns against the American Indian with his arrows and spears. To achieve this goal he used the mighty pro Israeli in the United States with their tremendous influence in the news media, the Congress and the government spreading the idea that Iraq was a great threat to Israel and had to be destroyed.
On the other hand, Israel whose main focus was the continuation of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and expulsion of the Palestinian people by bringing hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews to settle in the occupied territories. For them it was an opportunity to destroy the most powerful Arab country, Iraq. By this way, they would neutralize the center of Arab power and unity against their expansion and their grip on the occupied Arab lands. For them, destroying Saddam Hussein will create a desperation and a set-back for the Palestinians which happened.
They used President Bush to do this dirty work for them. They used a Christian army to destroy a Moslem country as it was perceived by the Arab and Moslem masses throughout the world. President Bush achieved his goal by coming out as decisive and strong and not as a “wimp” as the Democrats used to call him.
This explains even now, why the Democrats who are trying to unseat him from the White House, are unable to criticize his foreign policy and the Gulf war because of the mighty and powerful pro Israeli establishment in this country. Even if President Bush tries to block the loan guarantee of 10 billion dollars to Israel for three months, is in my judgment, a deception. Because if he was really determined to settle this issue between the Palestinians and the Israelis, he would cut all
aid to Israel until Israel accepts the United Nations resolutions 242 and 338 just as we, the Democrats in the state of Washington, passed that resolution in our convention in Spokane in June of 1990. This foreign aid amounts to almost 5 billion dollars a year badly needed in this country.
More important, he could have allowed the United States doors to be opened again for Soviet Jews to come to the United States. After all, it costs less than 10 thousand dollars to settle every Jewish family in the U.S. when it is going to cost the U.S. more than 40 thousand dollars in Israel.
This is a great country and we can easily absorb half a million Soviet Jews in the next few years rather than force them and coerce them to go in one direction which is to Israel. I strongly believe that President Bush’s selection of Bob Straus, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to be our ambassador in Moscow is basically to facilitate the continuation of this massive immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel. It is known that Bob Straus, one of the most prominent Jewish Americans is also known to be a very pro Israeli.
By destroying Iraq and by using other Arab countries in the process, was a means of destroying any intention of unity among the Arabs which was a policy of Great Britain as the Imperial Empire in the 19th and 20th century to divide and conquer. Great Britain with the help of other western powers such as France made many Arab State Nations creating artificial borders among the Arab people when the Arabs are one nation with the same language, history, culture and mostly religion.
There is another factor which will be in my book and that might explain President Bush’s rush to go to war when everyone was telling him to wait because the economic embargo was working and that was his Grave’s disease which is a disease caused by excess thyroid hormone which has significant control over the human mentally and physically. As a physician I treated many people with this disease. It is a well known fact that patients with this disease are at the edge of doing things. They are hyperactive and nervous. They are in a hurry to do things and cannot wait. I suspect that during President Bush’s decision to go to war, he already had the disease and the symptoms which might have contributed to his rush decision to go to war and to make the issue like a personal vendetta against President Saddam Hussein. The only way to refute this suspicion is through medical grounds such as knowing about his medical files and any medical investigation which might have happened and, of course, it is difficult because of a patient doctor relationship, but I believe, as President Bush is a public figure who made a very hurried decision, owes it to the American people to let them know if there was any connection with that issue.
Now, President Bush feels after the war ended that the Democrats are criticizing him for not finishing the job and he will not rest, at least until November election of next year, to get rid of Saddam Hussein, like he did with Manuel Noriega. Unfortunately to get rid of Saddam Hussein, he has to get rid of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi people who are going to starve because of this embargo and economic sanctions. Saddam Hussein removal from power is a matter of concern to the Iraqi people and to President Saddam Hussein himself. But to support President Bush as a police officer or a U.S. Marshall, to remove him from office is of grave consequences and a very serious political blunder since his objective is to try to prove to the American people and consequently to have the vote to be re-elected since he got rid of Saddam Hussein like he did with Manuel Noriega.
What about the atrocities in Kuwait which were widely reported in the news media committed by the Iraqis? I personally had the chance to investigate some of those atrocities which were highly exaggerated and some of them did not exist. I particularly want to mention about the Iraqis pulling the incubators and letting the premature babies die. Also shipping equipment and other items such as dialysis machines to Baghdad. I visited Kuwait four weeks after the invasion in September, 1990. I visited those hospitals. I interviewed doctors. I saw with my own eyes many incubators stored in other rooms and many dialysis machines in operation. I talked to nurses who were working in the same alleged hospitals, many of them are foreign nationals. I talked to Kuwaiti doctors. I brought the daily register book showing the babies who w~e7t’e born and the cause of death. I held five international press conferences, as I mentioned in this letter and many interviews in the. United States. I showed evidence that there was no truth to those allegations, but did anyone in the National News Media report that? None to my knowledge. The first mention of refuting those allegations was after the war ended when John Martin from ABC news reported that. Isn’t that a total cover up? Even Congress was involved with this shameful cover up.
When the hearing was going on in Congress chaired by Tom Lantos, the prominent American Jew originally from Lithuania who represents California and is the chairman of Human Rights Commission in Congress, I sent him a letter and talked to his assistant and asked him to allow me to appear before his committee. He and his staff did not even bother to answer my letter or call. He only concentrated on testimony from Kuwaitis and other sympathizers who were exaggerating and many of them telling lies about the Iraqis.
During my trips to Kuwait, especially in September, 1990 I did find some brutality in the occupation especially from the soldiers and police in Kuwait City. I did find looting, though some of it was done by many who were not – Iraqis. I reported that to the Iraqi Minister of Information in a letter I sent to him upon my return to Baghdad from Kuwait in September of 1990.
President Bush accuses others of atrocities when we had committed many of those atrocities ourselves by invading Grenada and Panama, by supporting dictatorship, including the Israeli government of their brutal and systematic violation of human rights, of the Palestinians and their alteration of historic, cultural and geographic sights of the occupied territories.
Ladies and gentlemen, I made two trips to Kuwait and Baghdad. My first trip to Kuwait in September, 1990, I came across people who told me horrible stories ab9ut discrimination by the Kuwaitis. There are discriminatory laws, people who told me that they brought maids from Sri- Lanka and India to work in homes of Kuwaitis sponsored by Kuwaitis and then to be sold at a small profit sometimes 5 to 10 dollars apiece to other Kuwaiti sponsors. I was told of stories of people being deported because they crossed at a traffic red light. I even heard the story of my own niece, Lena, 27 years old who was born in Kuwait, who was deported and kept in prison for a few days because she criticized the government after they tried to transfer her from her place of employment to another site. The only thing she committed was to protest “toz” on the government. Toz a Palestinian dialect is a very mild word which means something like “bullshit” or “fart”.
I heard stories about people who were born and lived in Kuwait all their lives who had no right to own property or a business. They simply had to work and work all their lives and all of what they made was going one way or the other to the Kuwaitis.
I heard horrible stories about the Emir of Kuwait who had more than 70 wives. He did not even know his own children. None of those were mentioned by Congressman Tom Lantos during his hearing or President Bush.
When I visited Kuwait for the second time, only three days before the war started in January, 1991, I traveled from Baghdad to Kuwait by a car and I met a lady at the Euphrates River who was selling some fish. I remember her tears and the sadness in her eyes when she told me that her husband was on the front lines and she and her three children were waiting for him having difficulty coping with life, especially since she was a diabetic and had no Insulin since the embargo was put in effect against Iraq.
I would like to ask, what happened to that lady’s husband and hundreds of thousands like him who were killed in this war? What happened to their children and wives? Aren’t they human beings and children of God? After the war ended what a terrible price the Iraqi people paid by going to Kuwait to claim back a piece of land which cut from their own country by Great Britain sixty years ago. Just look how many nonKuwaitis were forced out of their jobs and businesses from Kuwait more than half a million Palestinians and Jordanians.
I am not going to go into detail about their plight, but I want to mention one case in my own family, my brother-in-law, Hassan, who was working for one of the richest families in Kuwait and was their manager to sell cars. When the Iraqis occupied Kuwait,, many of their cars disappeared and the responsibility was laid upon my brother-in-law to help relocate their cars, in such difficult circumstances. It is ironic that after the war ended that my brother-in-law was arrested. He is a diabetic and if it was not by our intervention from here through the International -Red Cross who brought him to the hospital for treatment, he would have been dead by now. He remained 6 months in jail on suspicion of cooperation with the Iraqis when he indeed was trying to get the cars back to his employer.
When they found no evidence against him, they expelled him penniless after they tortured him and breaking several of his fingers. Even this very rich family did not pay him a salary during the time he was in jail. They considered his employment to be terminated when he went to jail.
Every day I get calls from overseas from friends and relatives who were expelled from Kuwait penniless after they spent all their lives over their and many of their children were born in Kuwait. I wish President Bush would have interfered through the Kuwaiti government on behalf of those displaced people.
What happened to the democracy that President Bush is always talking about? No democracy was restored in Kuwait and no hint of any future democracy in Saudi Arabia or in any other allies in the Middle East. Why does President Bush so eloquently talk about democracy in China, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe and nothing about the Arab countries. Isn’t this an indication of prejudice and some form of discrimination and contempt for the Arab people? Don’t they deserve a democracy just like any other people in the World? Why does he make his emphasis only on the person, Saddam Hussein, to overthrow him and as we know through the U.S. propaganda, through the Voice of America and other CIA activities the Iraqi Kurds and Shiattes were made to believe that President Bush is their liberator, who indeed is the one who engineered the killing of their brothers, fathers and sons. He is the one who destroyed their country and put it back into the middle ages. He is the one who destroyed many historical and important monuments dating back to the time of Abraham. So in order to defend what is called Kuwait and impose the new world order, he had to destroy a beautiful country which is the cradle of our civilization.
Let me finally talk about the crux of the problem, the Palestinians Israeli and Arab Israeli conflict. Was the war a catalyst for peace? Not at all! The Israeli are griping their hands more on the West Bank. They are declaring their intention not to withdraw from the occupied territories. They are pressuring to get a 10 billion dollar loan guarantee which will be paid by American tax payers which might exceed more than 40 billion dollars, as many analysts estimates.
The Israelis are a very high risk borrowers and their credit rating is BB, the ]lowest rating given by Standard and Poor’s and D on the scale of A to E by the Export/Import Bank, so it will be the American tax payer who will ultimately foot the bill. I doubt we will ever be paid for this loan guarantee unless the Israelis are still considering themselves the “chosen people” and payment will be delayed to the Day of Judgment with The Ten Commandments
Mr. Bush is trying to convene a peace conference, but for what? The Israelis declared their intention not to freeze the settlement and not to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories and their intention not to give self determination and statehood to the Palestinians. The intentions of the Israelis is to meet with the Arabs face to face in order to be recognized by them. After that, they will be asking for more demands and what the Palestinians are going to get back in return? In my judgment, nothing.
This is the reason I oppose the Palestinian attending this conference without some guarantees from the Israelis and the United States. That the Israelis will withdraw from the west bank and other occupied Arab lands, dismantle of the settlement and the United States to press the security council to enforce the United Nations resolution 242 and 338 regarding the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. President Bush pressured, very hard, through economic, diplomatic and political means, members of the security council, against Iraq. We are not asking him to do any of this. Simply to use this tremendous leverage of our economic subsidies to the Israel government to agree on these resolutions. I made my opinion known through an article and letters which were printed through the newspapers in the Arab world last week.
I told the Palestinians to ask the United States to make the loan guarantee of 10 billion dollars to the Soviet Jews, but not just to go to Israel alone, but to help them go wherever they want to go including the United States, which in my judgment will make 90% of the Soviet
•Jews come to U.S. instead of going to Israel which would make sense in terms of money and human rights.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to tell you about a very recent event which happened only last week. When the Democratic Central Committee of Washington State met in Wenatchee on September 14, 1991, I attended the meeting as the Vice Chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Grant County. Some of the Jewish friends who work with us, presented a resolution in order to clarify the resolution we passed for the last three years, calling for a Palestinian state along side Israel. That resolution was passed by a unanimous vote at the Washington Democrats Convention in 1988 and by a majority in June of 1990. Those Jewish friends wanted to clarify that the Palestinian state would be established on the West Bank and Gaza. So it was shocking to find the pro Israeli members had gathered at the meeting tried to defeat this resolution and indeed they did succeed
because in their mind a Palestinians state is not to %e established on the West Bank and Gaza, but rather in Jordan which is totally a different country. This indicated very clearly their deception and lies.
I am telling them if they insist on this extreme direction, the other side of Palestinians and Arabs will do the extreme opposite. Then there won’t be any resolution. The conflict will drag on for another 40 years and this time it will be not simply political but religious. It will be a war between Moslems and Jews and we, the Americans, will be footing the bill in terms of money and lives.
So let’s work in this country, Jews and Arabs with the Gentiles on a just and compromise resolution.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know, President Bush in his address to the United Nations two days ago he urged the General Assembly to repeal the resolution passed in 1975 equated Zionism with racism and I have no doubt considering President Bush’s powerful economic, political and diplomatic will be fruitful, especially that the Soviet Union is not a super power any more.
But no matter how the 166 members of the General Assembly will vote, the facts speak for themselves. Zionism is Racism. It is simply to give the Jews everywhere, even if they converted to Judaism to immigrate to Israel according to the Israeli Law of Return and be a full citizens and this Return is based on religion alone and the same law will not allow Palestinians who were born in Palestine, like myself born in Haifa with my ancestors, going back to thousand of years not allowed to even be a resident, let alone being able to go and visit the old country without harassment. There are now three million of the 900,000 – – who were expelled from their home when Israel was established in 1948 and they have every right for return or compensation. At least Israel should be part of resettling those refugees in the region instead of trying to coerce millions of Soviet Jews to come to Israel. Zionism is based on race and religion with full rights and privileges to the Jews, when Palestinians in Israel are second class citizens and the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who have to carry identity cards when they travel to Israel and are not allowed to stay in Israel over night. Isn’t this Racism and the Apartheid itself? The American Jews are less than 6% of the population of the United States with their tremendous influence which far exceeds their numbers, are known to be champions for human rights and equality throughout this country and the World except when it comes to Israel. They treat Israel as a “sacred cow” supporting the Jewish states blindly and most of the time without questions, using their economic, political and mighty News Media power to impose their will on the 94% of the rest of the country to support unconditionally a foreign country, six thousand miles away. Through this tremendous influence and brain-washing they were able to justify this war, destroying Iraq at a cost of billions of dollars to the American tax payer and more than 60 billion dollars came out of the pockets of Japan, Germany and the Arab countries, which could have made a tremendous difference to emerging democracies in Europe,, to help starving nations in Africa, Bangladesh and throughout the World and not counting spilling our own blood and the blood of the quarter million Iraqis.
Ladies and gentlemen, finally the embargo is still going against Iraq, which in my judgment is unfair. If the Iraqi had destroyed assets in Kuwait and have to pay reparations, so Iraq is entitled to more reparation for destroying its civilian and economic structure and for starving tens of thousands of their children. Those people who tried to escape from Kuwait on “DEATH HIGHWAY” in last days of war, many were civilians who panicked and tried to get out are also entitled for compensation of that cowardly act of massacre. Those doctors, nurses and patients who were killed during the bombardment of the Adan hospital in Kuwait, which I visited four hours before the war broke out, are entitled to compensation. That is the same hospital which alleged that the Iraqi pulled the plug on the incubators and premature babies died. I wonder if that bombardment was deliberate to destroy the evidence to refute those allegation. If I have a chance, I will tell the Iraqis not to pay one penny for reparations until they get paid first. The embargo is destroying not just Iraq alone, but also going to cause a significant loss for American businesses since the reconstruction of Iraq, which might exceed 60 billion dollars is very important for our companies to participate and this is not just make economic sense but also is a touch of humanity to the people of Iraq. Are we going to leave this reconstruction to Japanese and German companies who are waiting for this embargo to be lifted. This personal vendetta from President Bush against Saddam Hussein has to be stopped.
I am very frustrated with the presidential Democrats candidates not coming out in the open and asking for inquiry and debate about the Gulf war. I wish I was born in the United States to declare my candidacy so I could raise the issues and stimulate a national debate about this horrible war. Though I may consider the possibility to run for U.S. Senate next year. Never the less, I am happy that there is a Democratic presidential candidate who is close to this idea, his name is Larry Agran, a former mayor of Irvine, California who happens to be a Jew and I fully support him.
Finally, I intend to visit Iraq for the third time in the near future to extend our hand and to convey your support to the Iraqi people in this time of pain and sufferings.
Thank you for your time and support.
Mohammad H. Said, M.D.
Peace Activist and
Chairman of Arab American Against
Military Intervention in the Gulf