Magazine article Newsweek

Untreated Wounds; Iraqi Soldiers Are Injured at Twice the Rate of Americans, and Their Prospects for Long-Term Care Are Bleak at Best

Magazine article Newsweek

Untreated Wounds; Iraqi Soldiers Are Injured at Twice the Rate of Americans, and Their Prospects for Long-Term Care Are Bleak at Best

Article excerpt

Byline: Babak Dehghanpisheh with Baghdad bureau reports

Private Atiya was driving a heavy truck on the outskirts of Baghdad when he saw the flash. Then, a deafening boom and darkness. When Atiya came to, he was lying on the side of the road and the truck, still carrying 11 of his colleagues from the Iraqi National Guard, was rolling on without a driver. He looked down. "I saw my leg was gone," he says, squeezing his eyes shut at the memory. "It was the worst pain." One of his arms was broken, the other severely burned.

Atiya (who asked that only his first name be used for safety reasons) is one of thousands of members of the Iraqi security forces who have been wounded on the job. That attack, near the town of Abu Ghraib last Wednesday, was the third time Atiya, 32, has been hit by an IED since he joined the Guard last year. He was quickly taken to the American-run Combat Support Hospital, known as the Cash, in the Green Zone, often the first stop for critically wounded soldiers. "These guys are in harm's way more than any other slice of the Iraqi population," says an American doctor at the Cash who asked not to be quoted by name.

During a speech last year, the then secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld noted that Iraqi security forces take casualties at "roughly twice the rate of all Coalition forces." That's approximately 40,000 wounded and more than 6,000 dead, grim numbers by any measure. (Both the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the U.S. military refuse to divulge data on Iraqi wounded for "security reasons.") "I've lost many friends," says Atiya, a soft-spoken man with a thick black mustache and receding hairline. At the Cash, Iraqi and American soldiers receive the same state-of-the-art care until they're stabilized. But for the Iraqis, it's downhill from there. "The problem is what happens afterward," says the U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.