Broken Iraqi Soldiers – Broken American Soldiers
Posted by bosskitty on May 6, 2007
Thanks To You: Karin Brulliard, Washington Post Staff Writer for bringing this to America’s attention. I have paraphrased her article and added my own comments to this sad state of affairs.
Of Iraq’s 120,000 soldiers, advancing to the front lines of the war, more are being wounded. But, because there are no Iraqi military hospitals, thousands have been left to the mercy of overtaxed and corrupt civilian hospitals and a military compensation system paralyzed by red tape and disorganization, according to soldiers, family members, doctors and military officials. Many, feeling abandoned, turn to their families for help. Families must buy and bring everything from crutches, wheelchairs, medication, tip or bribe nurses to administer shots, bring food and juice. After all that, wounded Iraqi soldiers must still contribute his entire salary to pay for treatment and medication.
Heres the spin: U.S. military officials who work with the Defense Ministry say Iraq’s capacity to care for its troops has greatly improved, but remains hampered by its reliance on public hospitals, which deteriorated under economic sanctions in the 1990s.
However: Though Iraqis fight alongside Americans, their destinies diverge upon injury. Wounded U.S. soldiers are typically flown, within one day, to a first-class military hospital in Germany. Then, within 72 hours, they arrive at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where amputees receive extensive rehabilitation and prosthetic limbs at a cost to taxpayers of $58,000 to $157,000 per soldier, according to a 2006 study by the American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Institution.
Iraq’s Defense Ministry has recorded 3,700 injured soldiers since the war began, but officials say the true figure is probably double that. The Congressional Research Service estimates that more than 33,000 Iraqi security force members — about two-fifths of whom are soldiers — were wounded by late April 2006. Last year, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Iraqi forces were wounded at about twice the rate of American troops. About 25,000 U.S. soldiers had been injured as of this May 1, according to the Department of Defense.
Saddam Hussein’s, Military hospitals were looted during the war and their doctors fled. So while some seriously injured Iraqi soldiers now receive initial treatment at sophisticated U.S. military facilities in Iraq, they must recover in public hospitals where medicines and highly trained staff are scarce. There is one military prosthetics clinic in the country, little in the way of mental health services and no burn center.
Quotes: “U.S. soldiers have access to rehab and prosthetics that are obviously better than what Iraqis have,” said Maj. Brian Krakover, 32, emergency room physician at the U.S. military hospital in Baghdad’s Green Zone. “It really makes the sacrifice that these guys make so significant, knowing that if they get hurt they don’t have the potential future that, say, a 20-year-old U.S. soldier who gets his legs blown off would have. They are really sticking their necks out here.”
And so: While several aid organizations focus on the civilian victims of Iraq’s violence, none has stood up for injured soldiers. “No one is paying attention, unfortunately,” said Said Arikat, a spokesman for the United Nations in Baghdad.
The 74-bed Medical City, a sprawling complex in central Baghdad, where quick dismissals are routine, officials say they keep unstable Iraqi patients as long as possible but must maintain space for the next wave of casualties.
Family members must follow ambulances carrying their injured relatives in their car with their guns ready — insurgents are known to ambush ambulances carrying soldiers.
There are few doctors, so injured must hire private physicians to stitch up stumps. Relatives scrub rooms daily, because no janitors came. The hospitals do not have the painkillers and antibiotics patients need, so family members must buy them — at $15 a day — from outside pharmacies. They must “tip” a nurses $6 a day to administer injections and clean wounds.
Please follow this link to Washington Post the details about the RED TAPE that wounded Iraqis must navigate.
So, we are the Liberators! We are the privileged! We, who acknowledge the inadequate VA in this country and the terrible conditions we offer our own wounded. Yet, the Iraqis we use to control their own country are left to their own devices, which are pretty limited and extremely dangerous. Where does this take us? Where does this leave the Iraqis? Whether we go or stay is of little consequence at this point, yet so much lip service is being given to this issue. We are still the country of WE BROKE IT, YOU FIX IT!