BAGHDAD —Iraq is hemorrhaging doctors as violence racks the nation. To stem the flow, the Iraqi government has recently taken a cue from Saddam Hussein: Medical schools are once again forbidden to issue diplomas and transcripts to new graduates.
built a fine medical system in part by withholding doctors’ passports
and diplomas. Although physicians can work in Iraq with a letter from a
medical school verifying their graduation, they say they need
certificates and transcripts to work abroad.
It is a common refrain among war-weary Iraqis that things were better before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Electricity in Baghdad
was more reliable; sectarian hostility was rare; Iraq was safe —
except for the many victims of Hussein’s tyranny. But rarely has the
government embraced a policy that so harshly evokes the era of
dictatorship. To some students and doctors, the diploma decision, like
Iraq’s crumbling medical system, provides clear proof of the
government’s helplessness and the nation’s decline.