Mandu is here, not happy that everyone is leaving the house today. He likes having a home full of visitors, and now, Steve is out the door, and I am soon to follow. Radiation is now at 8:30 and this is a blood taking day, and it is beautiful and no rain is predicted for four days, and even then, only a slight chance.
I read in the NY Times today, that medical programs are adding humanities classes to their curriculums. Art teaches observation, and an ability to look at the whole person, not the problem. What a great way to learn.
Here is an editorial from the NY Times. I am happy to pay taxes. I just want it to go toward helping the world, not destroying it. I also don't want it mis-used, which seems to be something the Bush administration struggles to understand. Health clinics, Yes!! Mismanagement to the point of murder and theft, No! Here is a NY Time editorials on Iraq.
An Unkept Promise in Iraq
Published: April 17, 2006
Two years ago, the United States government promised to build more than 140 badly needed health clinics in Iraq, bringing basic care to underserved areas outside the big cities. That could have done a lot of good, saving innocent Iraqi lives and building good will for the United States in places where it has grown dangerously scarce. A generous cost-plus contract was awarded to Parsons Inc., an American construction firm, to do the work, supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Now, with roughly $200 million already spent and financing from Washington set to run out in less than nine months, it appears extremely unlikely that most of those clinics will ever be built. As The Washington Post reported earlier this month, the Army Corps of Engineers predicts that no more than 20 clinics will actually be completed — out of 142.
America's good intentions should not be allowed to expire with so pathetically little achieved. The country's three years in Iraq have been a cavalcade of squandered opportunities and unanticipated outcomes. Many of those are now, sadly, beyond retrieval. The health clinics are not.
There appears to be plenty of blame to go around for the health clinics fiasco. High on the list comes the Bush administration's stubborn refusal to factor the deteriorating military situation into reconstruction planning. By the time this contract was awarded, in the spring of 2004, it should have been clear that special security measures would be needed in many areas.
Beyond that, there appear to be some serious questions about the performance by Parsons and the quality of supervision by the Army Corps of Engineers. The office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is looking into many of these issues and is expected to issue a report later this month. Sorting out the specific responsibilities is important for avoiding similar contracting debacles in the future.
Just as important is delivering on the original promise of health clinics. A new plan should be drawn up, taking a more realistic account of security conditions, and new financing needs to be found. New, and tighter, contracts need to be written and enforced.
Recent decades have been cruel to the children of Iraq, a country that was a regional leader in health care 30 years ago. Then came Saddam Hussein's diversion of Iraq's wealth into weapons, wars and palaces, 12 years of crushing international sanctions and finally, the invasion, occupation and insurgency. More children have probably died from lack of clean water and sanitation, malnutrition, and lack of health care than from the missile, bomb and rocket attacks of invading armies and insurgent militias.
That terrible history cannot be undone. But Iraqi children and their parents can still be helped to overcome some of the enduring health consequences. Let it not be said that thousands more Iraqis died needlessly because America walked away from its promise of health clinics with less than 15 percent of the job done.