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Hospital closings (and ambulance shootings) in Fallujah and Najaf

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rog Donating Member (301 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 02:17 PM
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Hospital closings (and ambulance shootings) in Fallujah and Najaf
Edited on Sun Apr-18-04 02:32 PM by rog
ON EDIT: the subject field

This is an up to date report ... still being assembled ... by Rahul Mahajan. He takes care to emphasize that he's only posting information that he can substantiate.

At a Ministry of Health press conference on Saturday that none of the Western media was at -----snip-----, Khudair Abbas, Minister of Health, delivered the statement and took questions.


The Minister was concerned to dispute the numbers on Fallujah -- last I saw, over 700 dead. He said the "official" count based on the Ministry's own tally (using 3 dedicated phone lines to cover the whole country) was 155 dead and 350 injured. Nobody believes this is an accurate tally, including many Marine commanders. But what's interesting is that at the same time he said, between April 5 and 17, in the cities of Baghdad, Najaf, Kerbala, Hilla, and Nasiriyah (all the ones for which they had data), there had been 290 Iraqis killed and 1196 wounded. And this doesn't include known fighting in Basra, Kuta, Amara, Baqubah, and, of course, Fallujah. Of the dead, 11% are children.

During the questions, when asked about shooting at ambulances, Abbas confirmed that U.S. forces shot at ambulances, not only in Fallujah and the approaches to Fallujah, but also in Sadr City. He agreed that the acts were criminal and said he has asked the IGC (Governing Council) and Bremer for an explanation.


But the main story goes well beyond this. It's a story about hospital closings. Again unreported in English-language media is what happened with the main hospital in Fallujah. Fallujah is almost entirely on the eastern bank of the Euphrates; the main hospital is on the western bank. From the beginning of the assault on Fallujah, the American forces closed down the bridge; sources we interviewed said that anything that tried to cross the bridge was destroyed. Nobody could make it to the hospital, so the hospital staff voluntarily left the hospital, taking whatever supplies they could, and started treating people at what had previously been a small three-room outpatient clinic across the river (on the same side as the town). For two weeks, doctors were doing surgery on the ground because there weren't enough beds, with only the supplies and equipment they could transport, and the main hospital stood closed. You can say the Americans didn't close it on purpose, but no doctor who believes in the Hippocratic oath is going to sit in a hospital that nobody can reach while across the river people die in droves.


What's been done in Najaf is even worse. I have this at secondhand. Pratap Chatterjee, an award-winning journalist who works for CorpWatch and has done a lot of reporting on corporate crimes, interviewed a doctor who was posted to Najaf. The doctor was working at the al-Sadr Teaching Hospital in Najaf (formerly the Saddam Hussein Teaching Hospital). This is a major institution, with 200 doctors; often, doctors come from Baghdad for training. On April 5 or 6 soldiers from the Spanish-language garrison that was posted to Najaf came to the hospital and told doctors they were shutting it down. They gave doctors two hours to leave, allowing them only to take personal items, not medical equipment. The hospital is sort of between Najaf and Kufa, and near the military base where the garrison is posted; the reason given for the closing was "security." Imagine the havoc caused by closing the biggest hospital in a major city for a week. The death toll due to this will never be figured into the total equation of the "liberation."

There's more even than this ... -----snip-----


Please read the complete story in conjunction with this first hand account from Fallujah:

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