THE ANATOMY OF CRIME: PHYSICIANS UNDER THE OPPRESSIVE REGIME OF SADDAM HUSSEIN
In the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, disturbing reports started to emerge about the participation of Iraqi physicians in human rights abuses in southern Iraq under Hussein’s regime. While such heinous acts of ear amputations, falsification of medical-legal reports of torture, falsification of death certificates, removal of patient’s organs without consent, and many other violations were true, there was no attempt to explain why it happened. There is no doubt that such behaviors reflected long years of threats, displacement and loss of jobs, confiscation, verbal and physical abuse, jail, and the ultimate punishment of torture to death that befell Iraqi physicians. With so many recipes on the menu, could any physician refuse to cooperate? Based on the recounted injustice in this article, which is only the tip of the iceberg, it is only fair to say that, under the circumstances, Iraqi physicians had no choice but to become unwilling accomplices. They should indeed be viewed as survivors of an abusive regime rather than collaborators. In the midst of the struggle to rebuild Iraq, measures should be taken to prevent future breaches of the medical code of ethics. This can only be achieved with a new constitution that ensures the independence of professional medical associations from state authority, and with the support of the international community that can exert pressure on all oppressive regimes. The civilized world must not tolerate and should not turn a blind eye to any violation of the basic rights of every human, for which too much blood has already been shed.
Key Words: Physicians, Abuse, Medicine, politics, Iraq