The U.S. is transporting 30 seriously wounded Libyans injured during their fight to overthrow Muammar el-Qaddafi to Boston, Mass., and Germany, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday in a joint statement.
In response to a request by the Transitional National Council, the U.S. will transport 24 wounded fighters to Spaulding Hospital in Boston on Saturday, and an additional six critical cases will be transferred to Germany for immediate care, they said in the statement. All are patients who require advanced care and cannot be treated in Libya.
“After months of struggle and sacrifice, the Libyan people have liberated their country with the support of the United States and the international community. The violent dictator and his regime have collapsed,” Clinton and Panetta said. “But Libya's new freedom has come at a price in human life and suffering. Just as the United States and the international community stood with the Libyan people during the revolution, we continue to work with Libya to address urgent humanitarian needs."
This humanitarian gesture is “a small token of our support, because we are committed to Libya’s future," they added.
Four Republican senators who visited Libya recently said the “most meaningful support” Washington can provide to the war-torn country is medical care for its wounded citizens. “From our visit to the hospital, it is clear that Libya does not have the capacity to care for such a large number of wounded, many requiring advanced treatment and prosthetics,” Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 7. “Indeed, this is such a priority that the [Transitional National Council] told us they would be willing to draw on the more than $150 billion in Libya's frozen assets to reimburse the U.S. for the costs of this humanitarian assistance.”
The senators encouraged the United States to consider deploying a hospital ship, such as the USNS Comfort, to Libya or Malta.