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Monday, May 7th 2007

The Health Of Our Allies

What should America be doing for the Iraqis who we’re trying to train to defend their own country? What sort of obligations do we owe to them for the state we’ve helped put their country in? A WaPo expose lays out how we’re falling short.

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 and arrive within 72 hours 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.

[S]ome 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.

Like all things in Iraq, I imagine, there is some talk of hope. But who knows if it is more than just words…

The system has progressed in the last year, said Hassan and Col. Amir Adolphe Edward, a U.S. Air Force surgeon who works with Iraqi security forces to improve health care. Last year, Hassan said, the prime minister’s office approved $23 million for a military hospital in Baghdad. But the funds have been stalled by financial analyses and bidding, and Hassan predicted the hospital would not open until 2008. A temporary field hospital in central Baghdad could open within six months, he said.

Go read the entire story.