by David Phinney
Monday August 20th 2018

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A ‘Clara Barton’ of the Web for Civilian Contractors Injured in Iraq

Jana Crowder, raised in Houston and now living in Tennessee, just may deserve a medal. Certainly, many owe her their thanks.
Using the Internet to optimum effect over recent years, Ms. Crowder quietly built a community network that addresses the concerns of civilian workers and shares information among those fighting for medical treatment and disability claims. In its absence, there would be little else to turn to. Certainly, the Pentagon and the news media have paid little attention. The mounting casualty and injury numbers among civilian workers are largely ignored even though contractors on the battlefield are more heavily relied upon than ever before in recent history.
As the Kristi L. Nelson so eloquently conveys in the Knoxville New Sentinel, Crowder’s reaching out has given her close contact to the invisible and largely overlooked Army of workers supporting the US military in Iraq:

She knows about the former truck driver who’s still haunted by the smell of his friends’ charred flesh from trucks recovered after his convoy was attacked by insurgents in Iraq….Or the driver who, lured to Iraq as much by the opportunity to serve America as by large paychecks, watched through the windshield as his fellow drivers were pulled from their trucks and shot, execution-style, by insurgents.

Check out Crowder’s Web site: American Contractors in Iraq.
Or go to her newest project: America at WAR and PTSD and wait for the video to start streaming.
Scroll down this second page an extensive survey of the types of injuries that contractors face. It was compiled by Houston attorney Gary Pitts. He is among a handful of lawyers in the country who has stood up for the injured contractors facing the sometimes gut-wrenching bureaucratic obstacles standing in the way of having their medical and disability claims addressed.
Nearly 800 civilians working under contract to the Pentagon have been killed and more than 3,300 hurt doing jobs formerly handled by the U.S. military, according a February 23 Associated Press report. They are Americans as well as workers from around the world who labored for US efforts in Iraq. And contrary to the Pentagon’s 2005 finding that contractors are not systematically targeted, the story notes: “The insurgents in Iraq make little if any distinction between the contractors and U.S. troops.”
Clara Barton, too, was a volunteer.

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