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Nurse Nayirah

"Nurse Nayirah" was a creation of Hill & Knowlton for promoting the 1991 Gulf War.

15-year-old "Nayirah" (Nijirah al-Sabah) testified before the United States Congress in October 1990 that she was a refugee volunteering in the maternity ward of Al Adnan hospital in Kuwait City, and that during the occupation by Iraq she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers dumping Kuwaiti infants out of their incubators "on[to] the cold floor to die," and then leaving with the machines. The girl was actually the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the US, but this was not revealed until later. Frieda Construe-Nag and Myra Ancog Cooke, two maternity nurses in that ward later said that they had never seen Nayirah there and that the baby-dumping had never happened.

Citizens for a Free Kuwait, organized by the exiled Kuwaiti government, had hired Hill & Knowlton to gain support for the US counterstrike; Hill & Knowlton was paid US $14 million by the US government for its help in promoting the Gulf War.

The testimony came at a crucial time for the Bush administration, which was pressing for military action to eject Iraq from Kuwait. Nayirah's story was widely reported by the media and Bush referred to the story six times in the next five weeks. The story was an influence in tipping both the public and Congress towards a war with Iraq: six Congressmen would say Nayirah's testimony was enough for them to support military action against Iraq and seven Senatorss referenced the testimony in debate. The Senate supported the military actions in a 52-47 vote.

Lauri Fitz-Pegado, later Assistant Commerce Secretary, invented Nayirah's story and coached the girl. She also prepared Iraq-invasion testimony for the UN which was later discredited, and later promoted a book about the rescue of PFC Jessica Lynch during the 2003 Iraq War.

Home Box Office (HBO) presented Nayirah's story as truth in their 2002 Live From Baghdad. HBO eventually added, after the final credits, that the incubator "allegations were never substantiated."


External link: Disinfopedia article on Lauri J. Fitz-Pegado