Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Perspective: Without insurance, more than their lives on the line

Above: An Iraqi policeman stands guard atop a police station in Ramadi in July.

Each morning as he leaves for work, Jawad Khatham reminds his family that he might not come home alive.

"I tell them, 'Be careful, try to save money just in case something happens,' " the 27-year-old police officer said.

He has a verse from the Koran in his wallet for luck, a laminated, pocket-size sheet he was carrying when a car bombing seriously injured him in September as he patrolled the capital. The blast tore off a piece of his skull, portions of his ears and skin from his forearms and right shoulder.

"I expected it to happen to me — that there would be an explosion, or I would be shot," he said.

Unlike U.S. counterparts, Iraqi police officers and soldiers generally don't have medical or life insurance. And though Iraqi leaders have promised to take care of those injured and disabled in the line of duty, along with the families of those who are killed, some relatives say they struggle to get benefits.

Read the rest at the LA Times