I know I’m overanalyzing with my interpretation of this because I come into the story with a (not really) unrelated bias. I also know that the author’s point is worth considering, that the foundation is a device to discuss a separate issue. But I can’t get past the obvious flawed assumption in promoting the photojournalist’s use of that device.
A photo of a young boy lying expressionless in a hospital bed hung behind Thorne Anderson.
“This is a boy who had a circumcision,” Anderson said. “It was discovered in that circumcision that he had a condition that would not allow his blood to clot.”
“Now, ordinarily this is very easy to treat. You can take regular dosages of a simple blood coagulant and then he can lead a relatively normal life. However, in Iraq, these blood coagulants, which are available everywhere in the third world, all over the planet, were banned from import under (the United Nation’s economic sanctions on Iraq). Because it was conceivably possible that they might be used as a precursor to a chemical weapon.” Anderson said.
“As a result, this 5-year-old kid died right in front me while I was making these photographs,” he said. “It was at that moment that I really became committed to covering the story in Iraq. Seeing this fraud, political conflict reduced to a human level created a frustration that made me want to tell this story.”
Before I step into any additional assumptions, I’m assuming the boy’s circumcision was not medically necessary. The article does not say, so I should not discount the possibility that it was medically necessary. But I will assume it was not; I’m probably correct. And it makes a useful device. (I’ve already addressed the more foundational assumption of ritual circumcision, which is glossed over to the point that it’s accepted by most as required by faith.)
The boy died because of circumcision, not because of economic sanctions that blocked the importation of blood coagulants. I don’t mean to sound cold, but if no one had cut him, the boy would not have bled. If he hadn’t bled that day, he wouldn’t have died that day. Bleeding and economic sanctions were the manner and the catalyst, respectively, of death, but they were not the cause. Circumcision killed that boy. Ignoring this is how statistics misrepresent the true complication rate of circumcision.