A letter to the Syracuse Post-Standard and New Times :

It was recently reported that Dr. Dhafir has lost his medical license. A greater loss is for the people he treated, many of whom have since died. Dhafir treated people regardless of ability to pay, and 90% of the $62,000 that Mrs. Dhafir was ordered to pay back to Medicare was spent on chemotherapy medicine. This leaves 10% of the money for Dr. Dhafir’s time, the nurse’s time and blood work. The government was simply unwilling to prosecute Dhafir for breaking the sanctions without the attendant obfuscation and laundry list of charges that he faced.

Although the government continues to characterize Dhafir as a criminal supporting terrorism, the only context in which this case makes any sense is the overwhelming humanitarian crisis created by the brutal U.S. sanctions on the country of Iraq. Three senior United Nation’s officials resigned because of the “genocidal” policy of sanctions against Iraq.

That the government equates breaking the sanctions with a national security threat, and therefore terrorism, was made unusually clear at a lecture held at Syracuse University Law School. The lecture, “A Law Enforcement Approach to Terrorist Financing,” highlighted Dhafir’s case. The three prosecutors from the case, Michael Olmstead, Greg West and Steve Green were present along with Jeff Breinholt, Deputy Chief, Counterterrorism Section United States Department of Justice who was the main speaker.

During the course of the lecture Olmstead, the head prosecutor cited the philosopher Emmanuel Kant’s imperative, “To obey the law because it is the law.” He added that “if you break the law, you must pay the price,” apparently regardless of the unfairness of the law and the humanitarian nature of the act. Compassion comes with a very high price.

To read the complete article go to: “Crime of Compassion”

Katherine Hughes

The Post-Standard published the first two paragraphs on 2/7/06. See my reply: “Omission is the most virulent form of censorship.”

(I sent the complete article to the Post-Standard and the New Times 1/25/06.)

Published by SNT 3/28/06, but without the last line giving a link to this site. I’ve written and asked them to give the last line on next week’s letters page.