by David Phinney
Wednesday October 21st 2020

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News Media Does the Math on Contract Workers in Iraq

Major media is getting around to discussing the plight of the blue-collar workers coming home from jobs in Iraq.
Mainstream corporate media plans to visit Jana Crowder’s February 10 event in Knoxville, Tenn., to interview workers and their families about the liabilities of working in the crossfire of war.
At one time, Iraq was touted as the new Gold Rush with billions of dollars pouring in just for the taking — and take it is just what some company managers drapped in the US flag did — for freedom and democracy, of course.
Then after skimming the profits and their cost-plus management commissions, the corporations hired the underemployed (and, thanks to US public policy, frequently undereducated) from the US as well as inexpensive laborers fromSouth Asia to do the work. (What was that rhetorical line from the less-than-memorable film Troy? “When will kings learn to fight their own wars?”)
The spoils go to the victor, but perhaps most importantly, President Bush told the entire world back in the spring of 2003 that major combat was over.
It would be fine to work in Iraq. Saddam finally had been knocked off his wicked, blood drenched throne and was crawling around on his hands and knees in a spider hole. Liberated virgins cradling roses and olive branches in their arms would greet waves of US troops flanked by reconstruction and military contractors marching through the streets….Iraqis would drink from the evangelical Neocon cup of peace and democracy. Capitalism would flower everywhere fueled by the free-market pumping of oil.
But of course, it didn’t happen that way. The bullets and incoming mortar still rain down. There are some 600 contractors now dead on the battlefields of Iraq and thousands more injured. Many have come home with their heads banged up and in wheelchairs only to enter a new fight for their disability coverage and medical insurance.
The civilian workers are largely invisible, of course, perhaps by Pentagon design or simple benign neglect. And when the media talks about US presence in Iraq, it only talks about the 130,000 or so troops — not the extra 100,000 military support contractors who are now doing work that the military once did just 10 years ago.
As the Pentagon recently discovered:

There are about 100,000 government contractors operating in Iraq, not counting subcontractors, a total that is approaching the size of the U.S. military force there, according to the military’s first census of the growing population of civilians operating in the battlefield.
The survey finding, which includes Americans, Iraqis and third-party nationals hired by companies operating under U.S. government contracts, is significantly higher and wider in scope than the Pentagon’s only previous estimate, which said there were 25,000 security contractors in the country.– The Washington Post

HERE’S SOME BREAKING NEWS : The footprint of the US military is not 130,000, it’s 230,000 when you do the math and add the support contractors.
AND the number of dead is not 3,000 or so, it is 3,600. Just count the warm bodies on the battlefield. They all bleed. The American public deserves to know. (A foreign editor of a major US newspaper noted that these dead and injured contractors are not all American. I am unsure what her point was, but my response: they were working under the US flag for US policy. And as it happens, even soldiers in the US military are not all American.)
So here comes the new story of the day: post traumatic stress disorder among civilian contractors. It is a known fact among troops, so it makes sense that contractors on the battlefield get the same. Try this for a primer from two years ago. Or just try this.
Thanks to youtube.com, us video watchers have this very well done CBS recap — sounds a lot like my work from two years ago.
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