Saturday, November 29, 2003

Some excellent, mainstream articles on Iraq. 

There is this article from the New Yorker:


In the Pentagon’s scenario, the responsibility of managing Iraq would quickly be handed off to exiles, led by Chalabi—allowing the U.S. to retain control without having to commit more troops and invest a lot of money. “There was a desire by some in the Vice-President’s office and the Pentagon to cut and run from Iraq and leave it up to Chalabi to run it,” a senior Administration official told me. “The idea was to put our guy in there and he was going to be so compliant that he’d recognize Israel and all the problems in the Middle East would be solved. He would be our man in Baghdad. Everything would be hunky-dory.” The planning was so wishful that it bordered on self-deception. “It isn’t pragmatism, it isn’t Realpolitik, it isn’t conservatism, it isn’t liberalism,” the official said. “It’s theology.”

Then there is this article from the Washington Post:


Since the largest U.S. Army hospital in Iraq opened its doors on April 10, nearly all U.S. casualties have passed through its first-floor emergency room. Some come already dead. Some arrive with one arm instead of two, a shattered leg or a face wiped away by an explosion.

Assaults on U.S. troops have numbered as many as 45 a day in recent weeks. For the staff at the 28th Combat Support Hospital, located within the U.S.-led occupation authority's headquarters at one of former president Saddam Hussein's palaces, that translates into a dozen patients some days. Twenty-four hours in the hospital's emergency room with soldiers stripped of their uniforms and gritty exteriors revealed the physical and emotional toll.

About 70 percent of the hospital's patients are wounded soldiers; the rest are Iraqi civilians and prisoners, along with a small number of U.S. civilian contractors, said Maj. Mark White, director of patient administration.

The number of soldiers treated for serious combat injuries is not publicly disclosed. Instead, the hospital releases statistics on patient admissions -- a total of 1,659 U.S. soldiers through Oct. 30. The combined number of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi patients admitted per month has increased since September, and this month was expected to reach about 400, White said.

Soldiers stay here for up to two days; those with serious wounds requiring further treatment are sent on to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and, if necessary, to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

"They come in here saying, 'Did he make it? Did my driver make it?' " said Lt. KomKwuan Pholtavee, 24, an ER nurse from Bellmore, N.Y. In their haze of pain and fear, she said, "I've had soldiers think that I'm their wife."

The worst that Maj. Michael Hilliard, 33, an emergency physician, saw back home in San Antonio were car crash and gunshot victims. Here, he estimates that he has treated the broken bodies of more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers.

"The injuries are horrific," he said. "They are beyond anything that you see in a textbook, and they are the worst that I have ever seen."