Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Dahr Jamail's "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation"

Dahr Jamail's "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" is a report you should be aware of.

There are nine sections, it's 37 pages (pdf format) and page five tells you what you probably already feared. Surveying thirteen hospitals "in order to research how the healthcare system was faring under the US-led occupation:"

This report documents the desperate supply shortages facing hospitals, the disastorous effect that the lack of basic services like water and electricity have on hospitals and the disruption of medical services in Iraqi hospitals by US military forces.
This report further provides an overview of the situation afflicting the hospitals in Iraq in order to highlight the desperate need for the promised "rehabilitation" of the medical system. Case studies highlight several of the findings and demonstrate that Iraqis need to reconstruct and rehabilitate the healthcare system. Reconstruction efforts by US firms have patently failed, while Iraqi contractors are not allowed to do the work.
The current model in Iraq of a "free trade globalized system," limited in fact to American and a few other western contractors, has plainly not worked. Continuing to impose this flawed and failing system on Iraq will only worsen the current healthcare crisis.

Before the next Operation Happy Talk gets started (I realize that in one form or another, Operation Happy Talk is always ongoing), you should familarize yourself with Jamail's report. It notes what is needed from program changes to basic equipment. Though you won't be surprised to learn of our "broken promises" (can the Bully Boy make any other kind?), you may not be aware of how bad things are and how many promises we've broken (or how much tax payer money has been wasted) until you read the report.

You'll learn about ambulance drivers being shot by US forces. You'll learn about the military staking out hospitals, in Falluja for instance (Dexter Filkins must have missed that) with snipers
. . . There's a lot here and it's not "pretty." It won't get guffaws from the morning chatters on TV. So count on them to ignore it. Make it your responsibility to read up on it.

Remember Falluja in November of 2004? The prize winning story?

Burhan Fasa'a, a cameramn with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the first eight days of the fighting. "I entered Falljuah near the Julan Quarter, which is near the General Hospital," he said during an interview in Baghdad. "There were American snipers on top of the hospital," who, he testified, "were shooting everyone in sight." The Iraqi Red Crescent would have to wait a full week before being permitted to dispatch three ambulances into the city.

The last two pages consist of Geneva Conventions. Such as Articles eighteen through twenty-one:

Article 18: Civilian hospitals organized to care to the wounded and sick, infrim and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.
Article 20: Persons regularly and solely engaged in the operation and administration of civilian hospitals, incluing the personnel engaged in the search for, removal, and transporation of and caring for the wounded and sick civilians, the infrim and maternity cases, shall be respected and protected.
Article 21: Convoys of vehicles or hospital trains or land. . . conveying wounded and sick civilians, the infirm and maternity cases, shall be respected and protected in the same manner as the hospitals for in Article 18.

Stop the Happy Talk by knowing the difference between myth and reality. Familiarize yourself with Dahr Jamail's report ("Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation") before Matt Lauer gets another chance to do his dramatic sigh and say, "It sure is nice to have some good news to report." (This just in, he's still balding. While that would have been fine for his trained profession of weather man, it doesn't play well for "anchor." Which may explain his apparent desperate need for "good news.")

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