...the most emotionally moving testimony on October 10 came from a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah. According to the Caucus, Nayirah's full name was being kept confidential to prevent Iraqi reprisals against her family in occupied Kuwait. Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City. Her written testimony was passed out in a media kit prepared by Citizens for a Free Kuwait. "I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital," Nayirah said. "While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die."83
Three months passed between Nayirah's testimony and the start of the war. During those months, the story of babies torn from their incubators was repeated over and over again. President Bush told the story. It was recited as fact in Congressional testimony, on TV and radio talk shows, and at the UN Security Council. "Of all the accusations made against the dictator," MacArthur observed, "none had more impact on American public opinion than the one about Iraqi soldiers removing 312 babies from their incubators and leaving them to die on the cold hospital floors of Kuwait City."84
Now: Wolfowitz story falsified
Testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July 2003 about the rebuilding of Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the story of Jumana Michael Hanna, an Iraqi woman who had recently come to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad with a tale of her horrific torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Hanna's tale -- more than two years of imprisonment that included being subjected to electric shocks, repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted -- was unusual in that she was willing to name the Iraqi police officials who participated in her torture, "information that is helping us to root out Baathist policemen who routinely tortured and killed prisoners," Wolfowitz said.
But Hanna's story, which 10 days before Wolfowitz's testimony had been the subject of a front-page article in the Washington Post, appears to have unraveled. Esquire magazine, in this month's issue, published a lengthy article, by a writer who was hired to help Hanna produce a memoir, saying that her account had all but fallen apart.
"If I wanted to lie, or if we wanted to lie, if we wanted to exaggerate, I wouldn't use my daughter to do so. I could easily buy other people to do it."
--Saud Nasir al-Sabah, Kuwait's Ambassador to the United States and Canada