Contractors also lost in the Iraq War
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on December 25, 2011
Letter at The Daily Advance Elizabeth City NC December 24, 2011
Kudos for your recent editorial regarding the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. You captured the ambiguity that Americans experience as the troops come home. On the one hand, we are thankful for those who have safely returned.
On the other hand, we can not help but wonder if the sacrifice in lives and treasure was justified — particularly given the initially erroneous and changing justifications for the war from the Bush administration.
I take issue, however, with your reporting of American casualties. In addition to the thousands of servicemen who lost their lives or suffered devastating wounds, there were hundreds if not thousands of contractors who were also casualties of the conflict. Accurate figures hard to come by — apparently as a deliberate policy of the U.S. State Department in order to avoid public scrutiny of our extensive use of contractors in this war.
Some might argue that contractors, who were in Iraq for economic reasons, are somehow less patriotic and less deserving of our concern than our military heroes. However, the reality of our voluntary military in conjunction with the dismal job market in recent years has no doubt led many young people to enlist, at least in part, for economic reasons. This is not to question the patriotism of those in the military but to point out that economic issues ultimately led many of our people to wind up in Iraq — and many did not come back alive and many came back severely wounded and scarred.
Many of those contractors are our friends and neighbors — employed by Academi — formerly known as Blackwater and headquartered in Moyock. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our fellow citizens who served in Iraq whether military or contractor — in spite of our lingering doubts about why we were there.
DAVID G. GARRATY