Saturday, August 11, 2007

The New Face of Iraq



I just read a harrowing article in the most recent Discover magazine. Now, this is not a magazine that normally writes about anything political, and I guess this really isn’t a political issue, although I am sure some will see it as some form of “liberal media” attack. Anyone that would think that is a horse’s ass blinded by partisanship, and it sickens me at the realization that I am sure this Discover article will probably be labeled as such in some circles. Either that, or a blind eye will be turned to it. It’s probably safe to say that this is the course of action most who read it will take, amongst those of you who bother to lie down less-than five dollars of your easily-earned (I don’t care what your job is) cash and spend the twenty minutes of your time that is too important and tied up with doing useless shit to read an article about something.

I’ll try to summarize, because as I said before, I’m pretty sure one of the ten of you who read this will actually go get the magazine and do something pro-active regarding the issue. “Well, R.A.Matheson, what are you doing about this issue,” I can hear you saying. Well, my friend, I took the twenty minutes to read and become aware of the issue to begin with, and now I am spending the time to read this and spread awareness.

The issue is the Iraqi medical situation. The article title is “Iraq’s Medical Meltdown.” Here is a quick list of bullet points I pulled from reading the article.

Out of 190,000 Iraqi police, more than 12,000 have been killed since the United States-led invansion in 2003, according to the Iraq’s interior minister.

  1. Some lucky Iraqis injured in the conflict are sent to the Air Force hospital where they receive unparalleled treatment for one week before being shuffled off to one of the four worst health-care systems in the Middle East. Iraq was previously the best.
  2. Iraq had 34,000 doctors before the 2003 invasion. Since then, 2,000 have been murdered and 18,000 have fled the country.
  3. In Vietnam, the United States had “an efficient system in place to maintain health care. Not this time.”
    1. The Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) treated 220,000 Vietnamese civilians from 1965-1970. American medics treated nearly 40 million civilians from 1963-1971. So far, the hospital that treats the vast majority of all civilians has handled just 2,000 civilians a year.
  4. In 2003, Bush did something that Dr. Frederick Burkle (trauma center doctor who headed up a trauma center in the first Gulf War, and has led recovery efforts for more than twenty years in other war-torn nations) said was “unprecedented.” Bush took the organization, the USAID, that provided and oversaw care for civilians injured in wars with the US and handed its job over to the Department of Defense, “leaving a single agency in charge of both engaging the enemy and patching up the people they blow apart.”

Burkle states that “in Africa the recovery rate of its countries takes about a decade. It is going to take a long time for Iraq to come back. Even if there is a will, there are no doctors or nurses...They will never see the country they had before.”

I’ll leave you with another from Burkle. “The Bush Administration violated every single tenet that has been known in humanitarian circles for decades.”


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2 comments:

Tonya said...

I read this yesteday. Even downloaded the picture.

Sometimes I wish my daughter were older so that I could go somewhere and actually make a difference, because I'm not doing it here.

This was a really good blog.

ramatheson said...

Thank you. Yeah, I've always said I am going to move to Canada. With a child though, I can't until he's at least eighteen, and even then it would be hard to leave him. Maybe he'll want to come! :)