Thursday, October 18, 2007

Outside Reading Week 5 post #2

Chapter 11-
The green zone's hospital is very modern with lots of medical equipment. The rest of Iraq's health care system is a complete and total disaster. Before the war, the hospitals in Baghdad were top notch but after the Americans arrived, they ran out of supplies and funding and were a wreck. Frederick M. Burkle Jr. was put in place to rehabilitate Iraq's health care issue. A week after the liberation of Baghdad, Burkle was replaced by James K. Haveman. Steve Browning, a man who was in the CPA government, used his reputation to sway Bremer's decisions. Browning decided to get generators for every hospital in the city and gave one of his officers the power to take drugs from drugstores and other places in order to get them to the hospitals. Haveman tried to organize campaigns against smoking and other things which led to the need for hospital treatment. Kimadia, which was Iraq's public pharmaceutical company, was in charge of everything that had to do with drugs. Haveman also implemented a formulary, which was a list of drugs that doctors could prescribe to people. This formulary would cut costs to Iraqi health care. Ted Briski headed the team that created the formulary. He found out soon after he arrived that Haveman and his team had no idea what they were doing. After Bremer had made the decision to delay the handing over of the government, Haveman knew that his plans were going to have to be rewritten. Of all the ministries in Iraq, the ministry of health was the first to be handed over to Iraqis.
Chapter 12-
Faez Ghani Aziz was killed because of his involvement with the privatization of Iraqi industry. Tom Foley was put in charge of privatizing Iraq's industry. Nobody wanted to invest in Iraq because of Aziz's death. The Iraqis in charge of the ministry of finance were afraid they would be targeted if they made radical changes. Foley received a plan to lease factories to private owners to create a transition between ownership which he grudgingly agreed to. Several senior staffers refused to stop their pet projects even though they were scheduled to leave in November. They basically had seven and a half months to finish their projects. Jim Otwell opposed all of Bremer's efforts to privatize food distribution calling a "humanitarian debacle". Bremer ignored Otwell's complaints but in the end the U.S. military shot down the plan because they couldn't handle the insurgency and food riots. The CPA staffers decided to put in place a system giving Iraqis debit cards which would be replenished every month. Otwell realized that this would never work because Baghdad didn't have the infrastructure to support electronic transfers. Jay Hallen wanted to rebuild the Iraqi stock exchange from the ground up even though the Iraqis just wanted to get back to work while he was planning the new stock exchange. Hallen fired many employees and created a board of governors which was composed of completely Sunni Arabs. This was not wise because the Shiites and Kurds would not like this. The board made many decision which Hallen disapproved of. These disagreements caused much tension between Hallen and the Board. Hallen was disappointed with his work after he left Iraq and yet at the same time, he thought he had done well considering the circumstances.

So far what I have been reading is very revealing reading. The reoccurring theme I have noticed is that the post-war government in Iraq was very, very poorly run. This was mostly due to the people who were appointed to posts in the CPA. They were not always the best suited for the job. In some cases they were very simply put in place because they were close friends of the president. In fact, you were most likely not going to get a job in the CPA if you weren’t a republican. The CPA staffers also wanted to create a Baghdad that was way beyond their capabilities. They had expectations that were way too high and that is why they failed. Before I read this book, I was against the U.S. being in Iraq. Now, after reading this book I feel even stronger about the U.S. leaving. I am angry that we didn’t make the right decisions when it mattered. I now see why the situation in Iraq is the way it is. The amount of times that different offices changed hands is amazing and frightening. Most people weren’t in Iraq long enough to really accomplish anything that mattered. This is also a relatively unbiased account of the war but it still does have a slight bias mainly due to the fact that the author is a journalist.

1 comment:

Gordon S. said...

Very good job you use a lot of detail in describing what you read. You also write well with few, if any, grammatical errors.