Posted by andreas from p3EE3C33C.dip.t-dialin.net (18.104.22.168) on Wednesday, October 02, 2002 at 2:36AM :
In Reply to: One more lie down: A Case Not Closed posted by andreas from p3EE3C231.dip.t-dialin.net (22.214.171.124) on Tuesday, October 01, 2002 at 5:22PM :
One of President Bush's motives for regime change is quite personal: revenge for a 1993 assassination plot against his father when he visited Kuwait.
Saddam is trumpeted "a guy that tried to kill my dad".
President Clinton responded to the reported plot in June 1993 with a cruise missile attack that killed eight civilians when a
Tomahawk went astray. Among the dead Iraqi artist Laila al-Attar whose daughter is profiled below.
Uncle Sam regrets ...
When U.S. officials warn of "regrettable civilian casualties" resulting from a
renewed bombing of Iraq, they should talk to Rema al-Attar.
BY DENNIS BERNSTEIN
With all that wall space in the White House, perhaps President Clinton can find
some room for a painting by Laila al-Attar. He may not remember her, but he
should -- she was the Iraqi artist who was blown to bits by the U.S. bombers
sent to punish Saddam Hussein in 1993. So was her husband.
Their only daughter, Rema, survived, blinded in one eye. Rema -- "little deer"
in Arabic -- left Baghdad soon after the bombing. She has had five operations on
her face in Los Angeles and Canada, and is still in pain.
She was 24 when "the bombs changed everything." In 1995, she married and moved
to the San Francisco Bay Area, where her husband has a business. Trained as a
draft designer, she took courses at a community college until their baby, Laila,
was born four months ago. Rema is anxious to complete her courses in interior
design as soon as possible. "I can still do this work with my one good eye," she
Perhaps the Clintons might call on Rema next week on their way to visit their
daughter Chelsea at Stanford, which is only a few minutes away. She might shed
some light on the consequences of the impending decision to bomb Baghdad again.
The president will surely remember the last time. It was June 27, 1993, in the
first months of his presidency. As commander in chief, he announced, he was
acting to foil an alleged plot to assassinate former President George Bush
during his victorious visit to Kuwait.
It was 2 a.m. when the bombs started falling. Rema's family was sound asleep.
"There was no warning. We heard an explosion and felt the walls shake. We tried
to get out but we couldn't do it. The whole house collapsed on top of us."
Rema was terrorized then and confused now. "It had nothing to do with us. My
father was a successful businessman. My mother was an artist. I used to work as
a display designer in a museum. We had nothing to do with politics. It was two
years after the (Gulf) war had ended."
Rema has never received an apology from the government that took her parents
away from her "in the prime of their lives." Rema was buried alive for five
hours under the broken stone and rubble that was once her home. "I was very deep
under and no one could hear me. I was dying by the time they got through. They
didn't get to my parents for another two hours. It was two hours too late."
Her mother, Laila, was director of the Iraqi National Art Museum and a powerful
force in gaining recognition for woman artists throughout the Middle East. She
was also, her daughter remembers, "very beautiful, very well respected and very
Rema does not speak of anger and revenge, but of sorrow and fear. "I get scared
so easily now, I can't do anything. I always wear dark glasses." And she has one
major concern -- her brother, who miraculously escaped serious injury when
"smart bombs" turned his parents and his home into a bit of what Pentagon
officials refer to as "acceptable collateral damage."
"I'm very worried about my brother," she says. "He is still in Iraq and they are
getting ready to bomb."
SALON Feb. 23, 1998
Dennis Bernstein is a producer for Pacifica Radio.
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