Saturday, May 19, 2007

You thought they cared?

Wow! No shit? Contractor deaths are up in Iraq? Whoda thought it? NYT.

Casualties among private contractors in Iraq have soared to record levels this year, setting a pace that seems certain to turn 2007 into the bloodiest year yet for the civilians who work alongside the American military in the war zone, according to new government numbers.


Now, regular readers know how I feel about 'contractors' making big money doing jobs our troops used to do, or doing jobs our troops still do. Of course, the foreign (non-American) contractors are generally exploited by the big American companies making profit hand over fist.


Many contractors in the battle zone say they lack the basic security measures afforded uniformed troops and receive benefits that not only differ from those provided to troops, but also vary by employer. Weekly pay ranges from $60 for Iraqi translators and laborers to $1,800 for truck drivers to as much as $6,000 for private security guards employed by companies like Blackwater. Medical and insurance benefits also vary widely, from excellent to minimal.


And of course, profits are everything, and safety cuts into profits. Like the young Republicans who work in the Green Zone, those who've come to Iraq to make money off others' suffering realize it isn't all it's cracked up to be.


Conditions in Iraq are harsh, and many civilians who arrive there, drawn by patriotism, a sense of adventure or the lure of money, are overwhelmed by the environment. If they raise questions about the 12-hour workdays, the lack of armor plating on trucks or the periodic shelling of bases, supervisors often tell them to pack up and go home.

Cynthia I. Morgan, a Tennessee trucker who spent more than a year in Iraq as a convoy commander, said that the common answer from her bosses to such complaints was, "Aisle or window, chicken or pasta" — meaning "Get on the next plane out of here."

That's right, honey. Don't let it hit ya in the ass because there's a hundred other assholes waiting in line for your job who'd probably do it for less money. Halliburton doesn't care if you're safe, just that you can drive. Same way the Chimp doesn't care about our troops once they're too injured to carry a rifle.

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