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Standard Operating Procedure

excerpts from testimony to the World Tribunal On Iraq, from Dahr Jamail. June 25, 2005

Although the Iraq Ministry of Health has supposedly gained its sovereignty and received promises of over $1 Billion of US funding, hospitals in Iraq continue to face ongoing medicine, equipment, and staffing shortages under the US-led occupation.

Dr. Qasim al-Nuwesri, the chief manager at Chuwader General Hospital, one of the two hospitals in the sprawling slum area of Sadr City, Baghdad and home to 3 million people, said his hospital faces a shortage of most supplies and, most critically, of ambulances. But for his hospital, the lack of potable water was the major problem. “Of course we have typhoid, cholera, kidney stones…but we now even have the very rare Hepatitis Type-E…and it has become common in our area,” said al-Nuwesri, adding that they never faced these problems prior to the invasion of 2003.

At Fallujah General Hospital, Dr. Ahmed, who asked that only his first name be used because he feared US military reprisals, said of the April 2004 siege that “the Americans shot out the lights in the front of our hospital. They prevented doctors from reaching the emergency unit at the hospital, and we quickly began to run out of supplies and much needed medications.” He also said that Marines kept the physicians in the residence building several times, intentionally prohibiting them from entering the hospital in order to treat patients.

In November, shortly after leveling Nazzal Emergency Hospital, US forces entered Fallujah General Hospital, the city’s only healthcare facility for trauma victims, detaining employees and patients alike. According to medics on the scene, water and electricity were “cut off,” ambulances targeted or confiscated by the US military, and surgeons, without exception, kept out of the besieged city.

Hospital raids by US military and US-backed Iraqi forces now appear to be standard operating procedure.

You have been reading excerpts from Dahr Jamail's testimony before the culimnating session of the World Tribunal On Iraq. You can read the entire testimony here: dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/newscommentary/000257.php

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