December 28, 2005

Just a Reminder of What We're Fighting FOR: the Gift of Life

Hatched by Sachi

A story like this warms my heart. Four Iraqi children who had likely fatal heart defects were brought to New York by a U.S. military program; at the Montefiore Medical Center, they were given life-saving heart surgeries.

Wsam is one of four Iraqi children who underwent surgeries in the last week to repair life-threatening congenital heart defects, in a joint effort by an international humanitarian organization and the U.S. military.

Last week a pediatric cardiac team at New York's Montefiore Medical Center performed a complicated procedure to increase blood flow to Wsam's heart and a major aortic artery.

Wsam was discharged this morning from the hospital in good condition, along with two other boys and one girl who also underwent critical heart surgery.

Wsam is 11 years old; the other three kids are Sivar Mohammad (6), Asaid Sibreai (14), and Ashjan Khaled (12). The surgeries were the first of many that will be performed on desperately ill Iraqi children, courtesy of Rotary International's Gift of Life organization; while in America, they stayed at Ronald MacDonald House and local host families. Part of the cost is also borne by the Rachel B. Cooper Foundation.

And who is responsible for bringing all these people together as a Christmas miracle for Moslem children?

The children arrived in New York City from Amman, Jordan, earlier this month after an Army reservist assigned to the U.S. military's Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Center put their families in contact with the Gift of Life International....

In September, Staff Sgt. Marikay Satyrano, a Bronx school teacher stationed in Amman, identified 60 Baghdad children as potential candidates for heart surgery. Working with the Humanitarian Assistance Coordination Center, Satyrano organized trips to Amman for the children and their families so that they could be screened by a Jordanian pediatric cardiologist.

Yes, I know; the primary function of the military is to "kill people and break things." But that is its function, not its purpose. Its purpose, as defined by the American people, is to pursue and defend American interests around the world... and one of America's interests has always been humanitarian relief, whether that takes the form of billions of dollars of monetary and food relief for a dozen countries devastated by a massive tsunami -- or four small surgeries for four young kids who would not have survived to adulthood otherwise.

Darned neocons -- they're everywhere!

Hatched by Sachi on this day, December 28, 2005, at the time of 8:30 PM

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