Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

The doctor is out.

Doctors (and teachers, and scientists, and businessmen, and anyone with a bit of money...) are fleeing Iraq, leaving the country's medical system in disarray, at a time when it is needed most. Then again, considering the targeting of medical establishments by both U.S. and insurgents, the heavyhanded, threatening, and sometimes violent intimidation of doctors by U.S. and Iraqi soldiers *AND* by the insurgents, I don't blame them. I just don't know who is going to replace them.

Meanwhile, a new study by Iraq Body Count that used authoritative media accounts to determine the nature of Iraqi civilian casualties reached the following conclusions:

- Women and children have accounted for almost 20% of civilian deaths in Iraq.

- US-led forces killed 37% of the civilian victims.

- The insurgency and foriegn terrorists have killed 9% of civilian victims.

- Increased lawlessness and criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.

- 70% of civilian casualties have occurred post-invasion, with the number of civilians killed in the second year of the occupation nearly twice the amount killed in the first year.

This also tends to support my ballpark estimate of about 175,000 dead Iraqi civilians to date, based on the Lancet study, and a presumption that there was a corollary between increased fatalities for coalition soldiers over the last year and increased fatalities for Iraqi civilians over the last year. There clearly is a causal relationship.

Professor John Sloboda, one of the report's authors, says that "34 ordinary Iraqis have met violent deaths every day since the invasion," but that isn't a factually correct statement.

What he should have said is that approximately 34 ordinary Iraqis THAT WE KNOW OF meet violent deaths everyday, with many additional violent deaths that routinely go unreported. In addition, there is an even larger, undisclosed death toll for ordinary Iraqis who die everyday due to increased rates of disease, bad water, bad sanitation, increased risk of fatal accidents (such as is caused by things like unexploded ordinance), inadequate medical treatment, increased levels of infant mortality, spotty electricity and phone service, and many other potentially avoidable health concerns which should not be fatal under normal circumstances, but are under occupation. As a result of the invasion and its aftermath, statistical rates of death for Iraqis have increased sharply across the board, simply because the infrastructure for providing adequate medical attention to the Iraqi people does not exist anymore.

The doctors are leaving, the ambulances -- when you can reach one by phone -- are waiting in line at the security checkpoint, but the patient is dead-on-arrival.

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