Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in Iraq


Noor, whose name means light in Arabic, was born with a severe form of spina bifida. Iraqi doctors lack the resources to treat her. They sent her family home, telling them the baby had 45 days at most to live. Barring a miracle, the light in their lives would go out.

Noor beat the odds and will be 3 months old Friday. Her time, though, is running out. No one is sure how long she will live in her condition.

But Noor's family might get the miracle they have dreamed of, thanks to soldiers from the 48th Brigade Combat Team's 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment.


But in the trash-strewn, sewage-infested slums of impoverished Abu Ghraib, few children receive basic medical attention such as vaccinations, much less the kind of intensive care Noor needs.

Morgan took a military doctor to visit Noor, called Baby Nora by the soldiers. The doctor determined that she was born with spina bifida, an open spine. In the early stages of her mother's pregnancy, Noor's spinal cord did not fully close, leaving a gap where a cyst-like growth the size of a baseball now sits on Noor's back.


Morgan said the Marriott hotel group was willing to donate living space for the girl and an accompanying relative. Delta Air Lines has agreed to fly the child and one relative from Kuwait to Atlanta through its charitable Sky Wish program.

And Childspring International, an Atlanta nonprofit that matches sick children from other countries with doctors in the United States, is working with Children's Healthcare to arrange Noor's medical care.

"We will work as hard as we can to make it happen," said Rose Emily, executive director of Childspring. "I look forward to going to the airport and picking up this little girl."


A lot of good does happen in Iraq, but we have been a cause of much of the bad. This girl probably would have gotten the medical care she needed in Iraq before we destroyed much of the infrastructure and brought chaos down upon them. Let's hope we hear more good news (not contrived propaganda but real stories of progress). We owe them as much normalcy as possible before we bug out - you know we will, Rummy's already making noises and election season starts in a couple weeks.

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