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Archive | December, 2008

Looking After Pockets, Not Patients

BAQUBA — A nurse at Baquba General Hospital asked Ahmed Ali, who co-authored this report, for a bribe to look after his sick baby. It was hardly an exceptional demand. Patients around Iraq have begun commonly to speak of the need to bribe medical staff to get some form of care.

“Nurses in Iraqi hospitals are no angels of mercy,” Falah Najim, who was a patient at the main hospital in Baquba told IPS. “They look after their pockets, not the patient.”

The practice of bribing medical staff has been around since at least the 1990s, during the difficult days of the sanctions imposed on Iraq after the first Gulf War. After the U.S. invasion of 2003, this seems to have become worse, like so much else in Iraq.

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As Usual, the NYT Ignores Iraqi Opinion; Anecdotes trump polls on withdrawal

The New York Times failed spectacularly in its coverage of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, helping lead the country into war and only much later (5/26/04) publishing a half-hearted mea culpa. As the near-apology acknowledged, the paper’s failure resulted in large part from its lack of skepticism regarding its sources, most notably exiled Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi.

Despite the mea culpa, though, the Times continues to mislead on Iraq, particularly on the issue of whether or not Iraqis want the U.S. military to exit their country. Once again, that journalistic failure seems to be rooted in the same fundamental problem of overconfidence in the paper’s sources and ignoring the obvious contradictory evidence.

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