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Helping an Iraqi baby, a kind act in the midst of war

There are arguments from some Americans that the United States should disengage from Iraq – that America has been sacrificing the lives of its own for long enough. For one Iraqi baby, however, the U.S. occupancy in Iraq may have been an answered prayer that came just in time to assist in saving her life.

Noor al-Zahra, commonly known as Baby Noor in the media, suffers from spina bifida and was found by U.S. soldiers during a raid of a house in Abu Ghraib.

Upon finding the 3-month-old baby, Lt. Jeff Morgan, a member of a Georgia National Guard outfit, sent an e-mail to a friend who is a social worker. This brought the assistance of several agencies that cooperated to bring al-Zahra to the United States on Dec. 31 for corrective surgery at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Jan. 9. Childspring International will arrange for follow-up care for al-Zahra when she returns to Iraq, according to an Associated Press story.

“I saw this child as the first-born child of the young mother and father and, really, all I could think of was my five children back at home and my young daughter,” Morgan said in an article on, “and I knew if I had the opportunity whatsoever to save my daughter’s life I would do everything possible.”

According to the Spina Bifida Association of America’s Web site, spina bifida “is a neural tube defect that happens in the first month of pregnancy when the spinal column doesn’t close completely.” The SBAA also recommends that expectant mothers take folic acid to help prevent the occurrence of spina bifida, since the cause of the defect is unknown.

The Bush administration could attempt to turn this into a potential public relations move, using the soldier’s assistance as an example to show that America must continue its involvement in Iraq. Indeed, the surgery shows that there are good things happening in the midst of war in Iraq. However, helping others is an act of human kindness, not free advertisement on how righteous America’s cause is.

It’s hopeful that the administration will not resort to this, because the soldiers’ insistence on helping Baby Noor is anything but a public relations move – it’s something that came out of the kindness and good will of an American soldier who did what he thought was right to help a baby in need.