A Kuwaiti oilfield on fire, 1991
The Gulf War ... was a war waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. ... One of the main concerns to the West was the significant threat Iraq posed to Saudi Arabia. Following the conquest of Kuwait, the Iraqi army was within easy striking distance of Saudi oil fields. Control of these fields, along with Kuwaiti and Iraqi reserves, would have given Hussein control over the majority of the world's oil reserves. The U.S. and the UN gave several public justifications for involvement in the conflict, the most prominent being the Iraqi violation of Kuwaiti territorial integrity. In addition, the U.S. moved to support its ally Saudi Arabia, whose importance in the region, and as a key supplier of oil, made it of considerable geopolitical importance.
George H. W. Bush riding in a Humvee with General Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia
While the world waited, while Saddam stalled, more damage was being done to the fragile economies of the Third World, emerging democracies of Eastern Europe, to the entire world, including to our own economy.
The Nayirah testimony was a testimony given ... on October 10, 1990 by a woman who provided only her first name, Nayirah. The testimony was widely publicized, and was cited numerous times by United States senators and the American president in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War. ... Her story was initially corroborated by Amnesty International and testimony from evacuees. ... Following the liberation of Kuwait, reporters were given access to the country. An ABC report found that "patients, including premature babies, did die, when many of Kuwait's nurses and doctors...fled" but Iraqi troops "almost certainly had not stolen hospital incubators and left hundreds of Kuwaiti babies to die." ... In 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah's last name was al-Sabah and that she was the daughter of Saud bin Nasir Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States.
Very few Americans knew what Kuwait was when the invasion took place and the odds are that they either didn't care much that Iraq had invaded Kuwait, they probably couldn't even find it on the map for the most part of Americans are famously ignorant of geography. So, this war very much had to be sold to the American people in order to convince them to intervene militarily.
It's been said many times: in war the first casualty is truth. Does it apply to the Gulf war?
Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government.
A number of firm's clients over its history have been involved in controversial events. These include the tobacco industry in the 1950s and 1960s, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International from 1988–90, the Government of Kuwait in the lead up to the Gulf War, and the Church of Scientology from 1987–1991. The company has also been criticized for representing governments seeking to improve their reputations while being accused of human rights violations such as Indonesia, Turkey, Maldives, and Uganda. The company is one of a number of firms engaged by fracking interests in recent years.
Although there were human rights abuses committed in Kuwait by the invading Iraqi military, the ones best known in the U.S. were inventions of the public relations firm hired by the government of Kuwait to influence U.S. opinion in favor of military intervention.
In the life of a nation, we're called upon to define who we are and what we believe. Sometimes these choices are not easy. But today as President, I ask for your support in a decision I've made to stand up for what's right and condemn what's wrong, all in the cause of peace. ... A puppet regime imposed from the outside is unacceptable. The acquisition of territory by force is unacceptable. No one, friend or foe, should doubt our desire for peace; and no one should underestimate our determination to confront aggression.
Bush quoted Nayirah at every opportunity. Six times in one month...