<\body> Stories in America: This is Liberated Iraq

Monday, March 20, 2006

This is Liberated Iraq

AlterNet is running the speech Dr. Entissar Mohammad Ariabi gave on Saturday in West Palm Beach, Florida. Dr. Entissar is a phamacist from Baghdad who is currently touring the U.S. with Gobal Exchange and CodePink:
Many people thought that after the U.S. occupied our country and the sanctions were lifted, the health care of the Iraqi people would improve. But the occupation has made it worse. Many of the Iraqi hospitals in cities like Baghdad, Al-Qaim, and Fallujah were bombed and destroyed. Many ambulances were attacked and health workers killed, despite the fact that it is illegal under international law to attack hospitals, ambulances and health workers.

After our hospitals were bombed and looted, millions of dollars were given to contractors to repair them. We suggested that this money be used to buy things that we urgently need, but the contractors refused and instead bought furniture and flowers and superficial things. Meanwhile, we suffer from a critical shortage of medicines, emergency supplies and anesthesia, and there is no sterilization in the operation rooms. As the director of the pharmacy department in my hospital, I refused to sit on a new chair while there were no sterile operating rooms.

Diseases that were under control under the regime of Saddam Hussein, diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, polio, have now returned to haunt the population, especially the children. Death due to cancer has increased because treatment programs stopped and medicines are not available. The health of the Iraqi people is also devastated by environmental contamination due to the destruction of our water and sewage systems.

The health of women, particularly pregnant women, has deteriorated. Many pregnant women suffer from malnutrition. When it comes time to give birth, many women prefer to give birth at home because they fear being shot on their way to the hospital and they know the bad conditions in the hospitals. As a result, more women are dying in childbirth, and more babies are dying.

Before the occupation, with all the problems we had under sanctions, Iraq ranked number 80 in the worldwide list of deaths of children under 5. Today, we have jumped up to number 36. UNICEF has said that the rate of severe malnutrition among Iraqi children has almost doubled since the occupation.

We have also lost our most important resources -- our doctors. Iraqi doctors are under attack from all sides. Many have been killed or very badly beaten or arrested by the American troops. In Fallujah, the hospital was bombed and doctors were killed inside. In Haditha, the Americans arrested the doctors in the hospital and beat them very badly. I saw Dr. Jamil, the only surgeon in the hospital, 21 days later. His face was still swollen and his nose was black and blue. The director was also beaten and held for a week inside the hospital.

With the chaos that has reigned since the invasion, over 200 Iraqi doctors have been kidnapped for ransom. Sometimes their families pay money and they are released, and then the whole family, terrified, flees the country. Others are killed by their kidnappers.
Meantime, the Bush cabal repeated their lies on the Sunday talk shows complaining about all the negative media coverage coming out of Iraq. If reporters were able to do their jobs unembedded and outside of the Green Zone and people like Dr. Entissar had access to the national 'liberal media,' the cabal would fall apart.


At 3/20/2006 10:08 AM, Anonymous timmy said...

Yeah, sure do miss them good 'ol days with the rape rooms and the wonderful health care....

"With the rise of Saddam Hussein to power some 35 years ago, everything changed in Iraq. Favoritism, greed and corruption became commonplace, and physicians were subject to the same terrors and intimidation inflicted upon other Iraqi citizens at the whim of Saddam Hussein. Some were incarcerated, some executed. The few who could left the country. The entire population was virtually cut off from the outside world. Physicians were rarely allowed to leave the country to attend medical conferences, outside educational materials were not permitted, and access to the Internet was considered a capital offense.
In his last year in power, Saddam allocated a total of $16 million to medical care in Iraq, a 94-percent reduction over a decade earlier and close to the lowest on earth on a per-capita basis. During the same year, the United States, with roughly 10 times the population, spent $1.6 trillion on health care. The results were predictable and devastating, condemning Iraqi medical care to that of a third-world country."

At 3/20/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous timmy said...

I'm with Rose. The conservative media is just ignoring these people. How will we ever change the minds of Americans if these images continue to be suppressed...


At 3/20/2006 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

Here's a good report on NPR from this morning on the buildup to the war in Iraq, focusing on the 'intelligence' and other events that led us in there. I highly recommend listening to this as a good recap of just how much of what the administration told us was a load of baloney. Members of the GOP might want to grab a warm blanket, Teddy Bear or pacifier when they listen to this just in case they start feeling insecure again. ;)


At 3/20/2006 3:41 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

"...and people like Dr. Entissar had access to the national 'liberal media,' the cabal would fall apart."

Veterans Voices, from the WaPo...

But it was not bad in the ways they see covered in the media -- the majority also agreed on this. What they experienced was more complex than the war they saw on television and in print. It was dangerous and confused, yes, but most of the vets also recalled enemies routed, buildings built and children befriended, against long odds in a poor and demoralized country. "We feel like we're doing something, and then we look at the news and you feel like you're getting bashed." "It seems to me the media had a predetermined script." The vibe of the coverage is just "so, so, so negative."


At 3/20/2006 3:46 PM, Anonymous truthseeker said...

Let's start a new campaign. Whenever the media bombs a school and then rebuilds it, let's demand coverage. Now that's positive news. Damn media, always focusing on the negative. People can't go to work or school. Screw 'em. You should be happy that we sold weapons to Saddam, then got rid of him. So sorry it took so long.

At 3/20/2006 4:53 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

So, I guess the soldier who said that is one troop you don't support.


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