• U.S. Spent $14.6 Million Taxpayer Dollars on Failed Hospital in Afghanistan

    October 11, 2016 // 25 Comments »

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    The war in Afghanistan is ready to enter its 16th year (if it was a kid it’s be ready to start driving) and by most definitions is pretty much a bust.

    Despite that, both mainstream candidates have made it clear in public statements they intend to continue pouring money — and lives — into that suppurating sore of American foreign policy. Despite that, there has been no mention of the war in two debates.


    Anyway, while we worry a lot about who call who naughty names in the final presidential debate, can you check around where you live and let me know if your town could use a new hospital, all paid for by someone else’s tax dollars, you know, free to you? ‘Cause that’s the deal Afghanistan got from the USG, only even that turned into a clusterfutz when no one paid much attention to how the facility was thrown together.

    There’s a photo, above, of the actual $14.6 million hospital. Seriously.

    And so again we turn to the latest reporting from the saddest people in government, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR). SIGAR just slit its wrists in depression after publishing an inspection report on the $14.6 million U.S.-funded Gardez Hospital.


    The inspection notes:

    — USAID, through one of its partners, awarded a $13.5 million contract to construct the 100-bed hospital by 2011. About five years after that deadline passed and after a cost increase to $14.6 million, the Gardez hospital is mostly complete.

    — SIGAR found deficiencies with the hospital’s fire safety system, including a lack of emergency lighting system, exit signs pointing in the wrong direction, and missing fire alarms.

    — And although the International Building Code requires hospitals to have full automatic fire suppression sprinkler systems, no one required the contractor to install any. Instead, the contract required it somehow only install the pipes, valves, fittings, and connections for the system, but not the water pump, nozzles, and several other parts to provide a complete and workable system.

    — Poor workmanship includes cracks in the roadways and parking areas, crumbling sidewalks, leaking roofs, cracked exterior plaster, peeling paint, and rusted hardware on the security gates. SIGAR brought a total of 42 deficiencies involving poor workmanship to USAID’s over a year ago. Only 13 have been fixed.

    — The hospital’s steam boiler system had not been installed correctly and had missing and damaged parts, a situation described as “dangerous.”

    — The Afghan government estimates it will cost $2.3 million annually to operate and maintain the 100-bed Gardez hospital, which is almost four times the cost to operate the 70-bed hospital that it is replacing. SIGAR found no evidence that USAID had conducted any analysis to determine whether the ministry had the ability to operate and maintain the new health facility, but just built it anyway.




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    Posted in Afghanistan, Embassy/State

    Brave Afghan Forces Kill Inside Hospital, for Freedom

    March 3, 2016 // 10 Comments »

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    Apparently a new feature of the modern war of terror is the shameless, blameless, overt targeting of hospitals, doctors and bed-ridden patients, all without the means of even modest self-defense.


    Following the American destruction of a Doctors Without Borders facility in Afghanistan, the Saudi targeting, using American weapons, of hospitals in Yemen, the Israeli destruction, using American weapons, of Palestian hospitals in Gaza, and the Russia/Syrian destruction of a Doctors Without Borders facility in Syria, we now have another case, perpetrated against the rules of war, international treaties and simple humanity.

    (The child shown above was injured in Gaza, 2014. Serves her right for choosing to live among terrorists, amiright?)


    Afghan security forces, possibly accompanied by NATO advisers, raided a hospital south of Kabul and abducted and then killed at least three men suspected of being insurgents.

    The raid began in Wardak Province, 100 miles from Kabul, at a hospital run by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, an international aid agency. Initial reports differed about whether the units involved in the four-hour raid, whose members descended from helicopters, belonged to the Afghan Army or the police. The number of casualties was also not clear, with different accounts suggesting that between three and five people had been killed.



    The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan denounced the raid, which it said the Afghan Army had conducted, as a gross violation of the Geneva Conventions.

    Yeah, whatever, how quaint.

    “Medical facilities and medical staff are to provide treatment to anyone in need, and patients are to be granted safety according to humanitarian law,” Jörgen Holmström, the Swedish group’s country director, said in a statement. “We will further investigate this violation and let those responsible be held accountable.”

    “Held accountable.” How quaint.

    A spokesman for Wardak Province’s police chief said elite police units, who were possibly accompanied by Americans, had conducted the operation.
    “Those killed in the hospital were all terrorists,” he said, adding that he was “happy that they were killed.”

    A spokesman for the American-led NATO coalition denied involvement. “At this point, we have no reports of any coalition operations near a hospital,” said Col. Michael T. Lawhorn.


    BONUS: The UN states Afghanistan chalked up record civilian casualties in 2015.



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    Posted in Afghanistan, Embassy/State

    Life Expectancy Drops for Iraqi Men

    May 14, 2011 // Comments Off on Life Expectancy Drops for Iraqi Men

    embassy in iraq Following the invasion of 2003, the US spent over $58 billion reconstructing Iraq, including a sizable investment in health care. My own PRT paid for mobile health clinics and a women’s health center, plus we arranged dozens of training sessions for Iraqi doctors and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical equipment.

    Millions were spent by other units rebuilding hospitals (chief among these was a $171 million hospital in southern Iraq Laura Bush “opened” in 2004 that still has never seen a patient).

    The Tarmiyyah Hospital was another major failed construction project. The Army finished ten rooms but did not put a roof on the facility before they abandoned it for security reasons. The hospital had no power from the grid. The Iraqi Ministry of Health refused to accept the building because they did not have the staff, budget or supply systems to open the facility, and it had no roof. Cost: No one will ever know, but in the millions.

    A driving factor behind the failures was that two-thirds of Iraq’s doctors were either killed or more commonly, fled the country as civil society collapsed during the US occupation.

    As a proper metric of our failure, the World Health Organization said Friday the average life expectancy in Iraq fell to 66 years in 2009 from 68 years in 2000, when evil dictator Saddam Hussein was still in power.

    But while Iraqi girls born in 2009 – the most recent year for which figures are available – could still expect to live to 70, boys’ life expectancy dropped sharply to 62 years, compared with 65 years in 2000.

    “The figures reflect the chaos from the conflict and the impact on health systems,” said Colin Mathers, one of the coordinators of WHO’s annual World Health Statistics report.

    The idea is not just to rag on Iraq, or to pile on to tragedy. The idea is that after you spend $58 billion on reconstruction, you generally don’t want to end up with things WORSE than when you started.



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