The details were horrific. Outside the besieged city of Mosul, 13,000 wounded civilians are today waiting for reconstructive surgery – from just this one seven-month battle. Another 5,000 Iraqi police militiamen are waiting for the same surgery from recent military offensives, in their case to be cared for by the Iraqi ministry of interior. But the health infrastructure that exists in the whole of Iraq cannot look after these wounded. As a result, some are turning up in Damascus – amid the frightfulness of the Syrian war – for the surgery they cannot obtain at home. A new graft in Damascus costs $200.In the balmy early summer of Beirut this week came these detailed new horrors of Middle East war. For beside the state-of-the-art American University Medical Centre in the city, doctors from across the region, from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine – along with the International Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres – came to discuss their fears for the wounded and the sick and their conviction that drug-resistant bacteria are growing in hospitals in the Middle East. Just how to deal with this may be within the knowledge of the military medical authorities – but not within the hands of civilian doctors.
Tag Archives: War
Talk to Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, and they’ll tell you he’s to blame for every man, woman and child who has been killed in Syria. That’s 400,000. Or 450,000. Or 500,000. The figures, so carelessly put together by the media, the UN and the various opposition groups who naturally want the statistics to be as high as possible, now embrace 100,000 souls who may – or may not – be still alive. But death tolls have nothing to do with compassion. They are about blame, about culpability.
And the claim that Assad is responsible for every one of the dead rests on the notion that he ‘started the war’. In his case, this means that the arrest and torture – and in one case, reported killing – of a group of schoolchildren who had written anti-regime graffiti on a wall in the southern city of Dera’a, was the ignition switch for the mass opposition rallies and subsequent armed uprising which has devastated Syria. In the case of Dera’a, Assad realised the seriousness of the event – he fired the city governor and sent his deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad to see the families. Too late.
By Amy Goodman and Denis MoynihanDemocracy NowThe world is facing the most serious humanitarian catastrophe since the end of World War II. Twenty million people are at risk of starving to death in Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan.
Almost all human beings have the capacity for empathy. Everyone has the potential to be at least troubled, or feel genuine anguish, about the suffering of other human beings. We recognise that, like us, other humans have insecurities and ambitions; we fall in love and have relationships that end in heartbreak; we worry about our children’s wellbeing; we say things we regret; we’re occasionally kept awake by fears or worries; and we try to impress people we look up to. We see things in others that we see in ourselves, and that binds us together. But what happens when we no longer see a specific group as human?Calais’s refugee children are sleeping rough because of Tory policyRead moreIn Men Against Fire – the penultimate episode in Charlie Brooker’s extraordinary new Black Mirror series – soldiers are sent to mow down fanged, shrieking zombie-like “roaches”. They relish slaughtering them – they even derive sexual kicks from doing it. But the victims are actually human beings. It emerges that the soldiers have had implants inserted that – as far as they can see – transform their desperate civilian targets into bloodcurdling monsters deserving of no compassion. As a military psychiatrist tells a soldier distraught at discovering the truth: “Humans are genuinely empathetic as a species. We don’t want to kill each other, which is a good thing, until your future depends on wiping out the enemy.”
A single day of fighting in June 1859, among the vineyards and villages near Lake Garda, left 40,000 Italian, French and Austrian soldiers dead or wounded. The Battle of Solferino might have been remembered simply for its carnage, but for the presence of Henry Dunant. Dunant, a Swiss traveller, spent days tending the wounded and wrote a memoir that led to the founding of the Red Cross and to the first Geneva convention, signed by Europe’s great powers in 1864.
Solferino inspired the principle that hospitals and army medical personnel are not a legitimate target in war. Today, with the bombing of hospitals by the Russians in Syria, the Saudis in Yemen and the Americans in Afghanistan, those who provide medical aid in war believe that principle is in ruins.
The era of the West’s enthusiasm for military intervention is over. Two reports on Iraq and Libya—written from the heart of the British establishment and published recently—have delivered its obituary. Each is damning; together, they dismember the case for intervention in both its neocon and liberal-hawk variants. Although their focus is almost exclusively on decision-making within Whitehall—the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence, and, above all, No. 10 Downing Street—Americans will recognize many of the same ills afflicting their own government.
The 2003 Iraq invasion arose from the hubris of neoconservatives. Its ostensible targets: weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. Its ambition: to spread democracy and American-style corporate capitalism. It was long planned, but not, it seems, well planned. Many liberals opposed the Iraq intervention because they disliked its architect and suspected its motives. But they still believed that Western, and especially U.S., military power, used assertively, could make the world a better place.
Dr. Muhamed brought the baby girl into the world in the midst of a war zone in southern Syria. A few hours later, his hospital lay in ruins.The baby’s tiny head shimmered, she blinked her eyes and her first cry sounded light but strong. It was a difficult birth and the mother needed blood from the rare O-negative group. Dr. Muhamed issued a call for blood donors at his city’s mosque — and that was when the catastrophe began.Their rotors pounding loudly, helicopters approached the hospital that evening and the first barrel bombs struck the operating room, injuring dozens of patients. The call for blood donations had led the Syrian regime to believe that a large number of enemy rebels was being treated in Muhamed’s hospital.
Here, lying in a stained carton, are notes on a refugee camp in Tanzania, where surviving Tutsis and their Hutu enemies lived side by side in blue tarp tents. It is 1994. The notes record that there are people everywhere, milling and moving in short parades on the main path in the camp, hastily constructed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Women wear colorful cloths, khangas, and carry yellow plastic containers of water on their heads. Children and old men push up against one another, as if at a bargain sale. They hold portable radios to their ears. A man in a brown rain hat drags a reluctant goat by a rope. White smoke mixes with the smells of fresh earth and excrement. At an outdoor butcher shop, a cow’s bloodied horn lies beside the animal’s astonished head. I greet a group of young Hutus in French. “Did you participate in the killings?,” I ask. “We did nothing,” one says. “Did you see others do the killing?” He says, “We saw nothing.” I ask, “How many Tutsis are left in Rwanda, do you think?” A teenage boy wearing a green baseball cap grins, and slowly draws the side of his index finger across his throat.
On August 18th, Omran Daqneesh, who is five years old, survived an air strike on the apartment building where his family lived, in Aleppo, Syria. Rescue workers pulled him out of the rubble and took him to an ambulance. Mahmoud Raslan, of the Aleppo Media Center, who works in areas controlled by the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, photographed the child on video. His face was coated with blood and dirt; he sat staring silently. Within days, millions of viewers had seen Omran’s image on social media; the Times put it on the front page. The picture recalled Nick Ut’s iconic Vietnam War photograph of a nine-year-old girl, Kim Phuc, taken as she fled naked and screaming from a napalm attack, or the images widely shared last year of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned off the Turkish coast, and whose body washed up on a beach. For adults to pause and reflect upon the costs of war, they sometimes require confrontation with a child’s suffering.
Source: Assad’s War on Aleppo
Insubordination is the act of willfully disobeying one’s superior. Refusing to perform an action that is unethical or illegal is not insubordination; neither is refusing to perform an action that is not within the scope of authority of the person issuing the order. Please soldiers of War or God or whatever you like to call yourself switch on your brain and heart and go back home to your family, friends and kids and let your masters of war fly those plane or suicide themselves for their cause. Stop being a tool and a killer and try to be human!