Human Rights and Wrongs

Alexander Cockburn

No Iraqi atrocity seized the public imagination more vividly than the charge that in the days following the 2 August invasion of Kuwait Iraqi soldiers murdered at least 312 prematurely born babies by plundering their incubators. President Bush, according to his publicists, had Amnesty’s December report at his elbow as he planned to go to war. (The fact that it was at an elbow normally secluded from human rights reports probably had something to do with the fact that his former Chief of Staff, Craig Fuller, was in the employ of Hill and Knowlton, a PR firm retained by the Sabah family.) Bush referred to the incubator charges at least six times in the month before the bombing began, as well as indirectly in his speech of 17 January as explosives descended on Baghdad. Amnesty’s imprimatur – eventually withdrawn – was important in firming resolve for a ‘just’ war across the Coalition.

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