The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Suitable Case for Treatment

An international force of conservatism has failed in its duty to draw a line under the Iraq war and start helping our little brown brothers to enjoy their independence in peace and freedom. Medact, an international organisation of health professionals, "exists to highlight the consequences of war, poverty and other threats to global health" and otherwise stir up trouble. Its report on conditions in Iraq "says the occupying powers had a duty under the Geneva convention to protect health services even after the establishment of the interim Iraqi government in 2004". Doubtless the impossible nature of such demands is what has made the Geneva convention the quaint little relic it is. According to the report, "Iraqi hospitals are not equipped to handle high numbers of injured people at the same time", in spite of all the practice we've been giving them; and "the health system is in disarray owing to the lack of an institutional framework, intermittent electricity, unsafe water, and frequent violations of medical neutrality", in spite of repeated attempts by the Coalition of the Enlightened to ensure that its air raids are appropriately targeted, and in spite of a thriving PFI programme in which "reconstruction contracts were more often awarded to the private sector than to expert health bodies". They still can't bestir themselves to be worthy of our efforts, it seems. Either Medact or the Guardian give the coalition credit for "a flurry of idealism" motivating the abolition of healthcare charges, which have now "been quietly reinstated by health authorities unable to pay salaries and buy the drugs they need". Fortunately, it is still possible to bribe one's way into hospital, so medical care is available to those of the deserving who have not yet emigrated.


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