Monday, March 19, 2007

Iraq Fiasco

Yesterday I gave a brief talk at a teach-in on the Iraq War on the MSU campus put on by the Greater Lansing Network Against War and Injustice, on "Bush/Cheney: The Case for Impeachment," a topic on which I've blogged here before (click here, and here, for a couple additional websites/blogs on the topic); but the main purpose of the event was to hear from Dahlia S. Wasfi, M.D., and her presentation will not be forgotten anytime soon by anyone in attendance.

Wasfi was born in New York, but she spent the first five years of her life in her father's hometown of Basra, Iraq. In 2oo4 she gave up her practice at Maryland's Georgetown University Hospital and visited her relatives for three months in Iraq, visiting again in 2006.

"I cannot convey to you how difficult life is in Iraq," she said. "The electricity outages; shortages; tanks night and day; explosions; gunfire. The Iraqi health care system used to be regarded as "The Jewel of the Arab World," but it has been absolutely decimated. The Baghdad morgue receives 200 bodies every day, and that’s just Baghdad. It’s 9/11 every day for them. And the stress - after three months there I needed six months to recover."

Wasfi has toured the United States for the past few years since then for the international human rights organization Global Exchange, and testifying once before Congress, speaking out against the Iraq War. Focusing on the horrible and disproportionate impact of the occupation on women and children, her presentation yesterday at MSU left little doubt that the best course of action for the United States is to withdraw as soon as possible. She recognizes there will be a period of instability, but it cannot possibly be any worse than what is going on right now with the American occupation.

We've "helped" enough already - now just leave.