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Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Mystery lung illness affecting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on November 27, 2012

Due to the large number of contractors contacting us about Lung problems after working in Iraq and Afghanistan we’ll be investigating and posting all information we can find on this topic.  Please forward any information you may have to dbacasualty@yahoo.com.

Channel 4 News from August 2011

US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with an apparently untreatable and incurable lung disease are being dismissed as out of shape because tests appear normal, writes Sarah Jones.

A civilian physician who has diagnosed more than 50 soldiers with constrictive bronchiolitis says the life-altering disease is linked to service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dr Robert Miller, of Vanderbilt University, says: “This scarring of the small airways in the lungs is common in people who have had bone marrow transplants or lung transplant rejection not people who have passed military fitness exams.

I get shortness of breath and painful burning in my lungs after running just a quarter of a mile, I can’t run any more Dr Sylvia Waters

“What we can say is that this disorder is linked to service in the Middle East. But we haven’t been able to definitively link what the cause is for the black lacy pigment. It’s something that’s inhaled that shouldn’t be there.”

Last month the New England Journal of Medicine published a study by Dr Miller and colleagues which documented the condition of soldiers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and were diagnosed with constrictive bronchiolitis.

However, their analysis doesn’t reveal how common the condition is in troops or positively identify the cause of constrictive bronchiolitis in troops.

‘Black lacy pigmentation’

The diagnoses were made after lung biopsies. At least half the soldiers have left the service with a disability rating making them eligible to receive anywhere between $123 to over $3,100 per month depending on the level of their disability and number of dependents.

In certain instances the Department of Veterans Affairs recognises a link between the disorder and service. But compensation is based on pulmonary function testing (PFT) and soldiers with constrictive bronchiolitis have normal PFT results despite having scarring of the airways, black lacy pigment in their lungs and severe exercise limitations.

A further complication is that deployed troops do not receive pre- and post-deployment pulmonary function tests that could help doctors know the extent of lung damage.

Dr Sylvia Waters serves in the US army and is a practicing anaesthetist. She used to run every day but after serving in Iraq she had to give up her passion.

“After a six-month tour in Mosul, Iraq I get shortness of breath and an excruciating burning in my lungs after running just a quarter of a mile. I can’t run any more.”

Army physicians tried routine tests including X-rays, pulmonary function tests and chest CT scans. They tried inhalers and steroid treatments but nothing worked and all tests results kept coming back normal.

At times, Dr Waters says she doubted herself: “I felt like I was going crazy because all these physicians kept telling me everything was coming back negative.

“It was only the fact that I was a physician and I knew other doctors that I even got diagnosed because I don’t know how else I would have done it.”

Please read the entire story here

 

Posted in Afghanistan, Burn Pits, Cancer, Civilian Contractors, Defense Base Act, Iraq, Toxic Exposures, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Overseas Contractor Count – 4th Quarter FY 2012

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 27, 2012

Thanks to Danger Zone Jobs for this Post

This update reports DoD contractor personnel numbers in theater and outlines DoD efforts to improve management of contractors accompanying U.S. forces. It covers DoD contractor personnel deployed in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraq, and the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

In 4th quarter FY 2012, USCENTCOM reported approximately 137,000 contractor personnel working for the DoD in the USCENTCOM AOR. This total reflects no change from the previous quarter. The number of contractors outside of Afghanistan and Iraq make up about 13.7% of the total contractor population in the USCENTCOM AOR. A breakdown of DoD contractor personnel is provided below:

A breakdown of DoD contractor personnel is provided below:

DoD Contractor Personnel in the USCENTCOM AOR

Total Contractors U.S. Citizens Third Country Nationals Local & Host Country Nationals
Afghanistan Only 109, 564 31,814 39,480 38,270
Iraq Only* 9,000 2,314 4,621 2,065
Other USCENTCOM Locations 18,843 8,764 9,297 782
USCENTCOM AOR 137,407 42,892 53,398 41,117

*Includes DoD contractors supporting U.S. Mission Iraq and/or Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq

Afghanistan Summary

The distribution of contractors in Afghanistan by contracting activity are:

Theater Support – Afghanistan: 16,973 (15%)
LOGCAP: 40,551 (37%)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: 7,647 (7%)
Other:* 44,393 (41%)
Total: 113,736
*Includes Defense Logistics Agency, Army Materiel Command, Air Force External and Systems Support contracts, Special Operations Command and INSCOM.

OEF Contractor Posture Highlights:

There are currently approximately 109.5K DoD contractors in Afghanistan. The overall contractor footprint has decreased 3.7% from the 3rd quarter FY12.

The contractor to military ratio in Afghanistan is 1.13 to 1 (based on 84.2K military).

Local Nationals make up 34.9% of the DoD contracted workforce in Afghanistan.

Iraq Summary

Contractor Posture Highlights:

The total number of contractors supporting the U.S. Government in Iraq (DoD+DoS) is now approximately 13.5K, which meets the USG goal of reducing the contractor population at the end of FY 2012.

The Department of Defense and Department of State continue to refine the requirements for contract support. Some contractor personnel employed under DoD contracts are supporting State Department and other civilian activities under the Chief of Mission, Iraq. These DoD contractors are provided on a reimbursable basis.

General Data on DoD Private Security Contractor Personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan

USCENTCOM reports, as of 4th quarter FY 2012, the following distribution of private security contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq:

Total* U.S. Citizens Third Country National Local & Host Country National
DoD PSCs in Afghanistan 18,914 2,014 1,437 15,413
DoD PSCs in Iraq 2,116 102 1,873 191

*These numbers include most subcontractors and service contractors hired by prime contractors under DoD contracts. They include both armed and unarmed contractors. They do not include PSCs working under DoS and USAID contracts.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Ronco Riff

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 25, 2012

October 25, 2012

Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow

Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S

Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?

Posted in Afghanistan, Armorgroup, Civilian Contractors, Exclusive Remedy, Follow the Money, G4S, Iraq, Ronco Consulting, State Department, Taxes, Wackenut | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Canadian man and American woman kidnapped in Wardak Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 12, 2012

Khaama Press  October 12, 2012

According to reports two foreign nationals were abducted by unknown gunmen in central Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan.

A local security official speaking on the condition of anonymity said the two individuals were kidnapped in Syedabad district.

The source further added the two individuals including a Canadian Man and an American woman were civilians.

They were kidnapped while they were on their way from eastern Ghazni province to capital Kabul.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Afghan government officials yet to comment regarding the report.

Please see the original and read more here

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Contractors Kidnapped | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Contractors in War Zones: Not Exactly “Contracting”

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 9, 2012

There are more contractors than troops in Afghanistan

Time’s Battleland  October 9, 2012 by David Isenberg

U.S. military forces may be out of Iraq, but the unsung and unrecognized part of America’s modern military establishment is still serving and sacrificing — the role played by private military and security contractors.

That their work is dangerous can be seen by looking at the headlines. Just last Thursday a car bomb hit a private security convoy in Baghdad, killing four people and wounding at least nine others.

That is hardly an isolated incident. According to the most recent Department of Labor statistics there were at least 121 civilian contractor deaths filed on in the third quarter of 2012. Of course, these included countries besides Iraq.

As the Defense Base Act Compensation blog notes, “these numbers are not an accurate accounting of Contractor Casualties as many injuries and deaths are not reported as Defense Base Act Claims. Also, many of these injuries will become deaths due to the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies denial of medical benefits.” To date, a total of 90,680 claims have been filed since September 1, 2001.

How many contractors are now serving on behalf of the U.S. government?

According to the most recent quarterly contractor census report issued by the U.S. Central Command, which includes both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as 18 other countries stretching from Egypt to Kazakhstan, there were approximately 137,000 contractors working for the Pentagon in its region. There were 113,376 in Afghanistan and 7,336 in Iraq. Of that total, 40,110 were U.S. citizens, 50,560 were local hires, and 46,231 were from neither the U.S. not the country in which they were working.

Put simply, there are more contractors than U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

These numbers, however, do not reflect the totality of contractors. For example, they do not include contractors working for the U.S. State Department. The CENTCOM report says that “of FY 2012, the USG contractor population in Iraq will be approximately 13.5K.  Roughly half of these contractors are employed under Department of State contracts.”

While most of the public now understands that contractors perform a lot of missions once done by troops – peeling potatoes, pulling security — they may not realize just how dependent on them the Pentagon has become.

Please read the entire post here

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Iraq, KBR, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

At Least 121 Civilian Contractor Deaths in the Third Quarter of 2012

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 2, 2012

WE ARE THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF THE WARS

According to the Department of Labor’s Defense Base Act Claim Summary Reports there were at least 121 Civilian Contractor Deaths filed on in the third quarter of 2012.

Keep in mind that these numbers are not an accurate accounting of Contractor Casualties as many injuries and deaths are not reported as Defense Base Act Claims. Also, many of these injuries will become deaths due to the Defense Base Act Insurance Companies denial of medical benefits.

Many foreign national and local national contractors and their families are never told that they are covered under the Defense Base Act and so not included in the count.

At least 18 death claims were filed for Iraq

At Least 90 death claims were filed for Afghanistan

At least 3,195 Defense Base Act Claims were filed during this quarter

At least 121 were death claims

At least 1,138 were for injuries requiring longer than 4 days off work

At least  85 were for injuries requiring less than 4 days off work

At least 1,879 were for injuries requiring no time off of work

A total of 90,680  Defense Base Act Claims have been filed since September 1, 2001

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Labor, Iraq | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Kevin O’Rourke, Retired NYPD, Civilian Contractor killed in Afghanistan Insider Attack

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on October 1, 2012

HERNANDO –October 3, 2012

A 52-year-old contractor from Citrus County was one of two people killed last weekend in Afghanistan.

According to Bay News 9’s partner newspaper the Citrus County Chronicle, Kevin O’Rourke, who lived in the town of Hernando, was in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor with NATO, working for Engility, a law enforcement professional firm based in Alexandria, Va.

A former New York City police officer, O’Rourke missed being in the World Trade Center by 20 minutes on September 11, 2001. He spent hours that day helping a friend trapped in the rubble.

Friends say after 9/11, O’Rourke saw “a great need to go to (Iraq and) Afghanistan and to help the younger generation understand what we went through in New York.”

New York Post  October 1, 2012

A retired NYPD sergeant working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan was killed during an apparent “insider attack” by members of the Afghan military.

Kevin O’Rourke, 52, and an unidentified US soldier were slain Saturday in the clash with Afghan troops.

O’Rourke had been on the force for 20 years and worked as member of the NYPD’s elite Emergency Service Unit.

He was also one of the department’s scuba instructors, based at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field.

O’Rourke, originally from Long Island, retired in 2003 and later moved to Florida.

The soldier was the 2,000 service member to die in the 11-year conflict.

Three Afghan troops were also killed in the shootout at a checkpoint in the eastern part of the country.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

American Civilian Contractor Killed, three wounded, in Green on Blue in Eastern Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 30, 2012

Rueters

while three other U.S. citizens and one Afghan were wounded, police spokesman Wali Mohammad said on Sunday.

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Two Americans and three Afghan soldiers died in a firefight that may have involved insurgent forces, the International Security Assistance Force said Sunday.

One of the U.S. deaths was a soldier; the other, a civilian, U.S. officials said.

NATO soldier, civilian contractor killed by Afghan soldier

A NATO soldier, a NATO civilian contractor and several Afghan soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, the latest in growing number of the so-called “green-on-blue” insider attacks in the country, the NATO said Sunday.

“An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member and an ISAF civilian contractor died following a suspected insider attack in eastern Afghanistan yesterday,” the NATO-led coalition or ISAF said in a statement.

“It is also known that there were Afghan National Army (ANA) casualties,” it said, adding “a joint ANA and ISAF assessment is underway.”

The brief statement did not disclose the nationalities of the victims and the exact place of the incident under ISAF policy.

Troops mainly from U.S. have been stationed within the 100,000 strong NATO-led ISAF forces in eastern Afghan provinces.

Please read the entire article here at China.org

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Civilian Contractor, Kyrgyz national, killed in Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 19, 2012

The Voice of Russia  September 18, 2012

A Kyrgyz national died in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan earlier today, according to the Russian Embassy in Kabul.

The authorities are now checking up on the number of those injured.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, USAID | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eight South African Civilian Contractors killed in Afghanistan Blast named

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 19, 2012

SHOUT  September 19, 2012

The SA government releases the names of those tragically killed in Kabul.

Permission was obtained from their families.

They are:

Christian Johannes Justus PRETORIUS, aged 30, Pretoria, Gauteng

Fraser Angus CAREY, aged 31, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Brandon Quinn BOOTH, aged 47 , Balgowan, KwaZulu-Natal

Johan Abraham VAN HUYSSTEEN, aged 31, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

Johan Frederick BOUCHAUD, aged 30, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Johannes Judenis HUMPHRIES, aged 65, Centurion, Gauteng

Steven LEONG, aged 31, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Jenny Margaret AYRIS,aged 46, Scotland, United Kingdom

We remember them, we mourn their passing and we will never forget them. Rest in Peace. SHOUT

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

14 killed in Afghanistan suicide attacks targeting foreigners includes Eight South Africans

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 18, 2012

CBS/AP KABUL, Afghanistan

Two separate suicide attacks in Afghanistan – both aimed at foreign workers or military forces, left at least 14 civilians dead and three U.S. troops wounded on Tuesday, according to Afghan officials.

The wreck of tje minibus in which eight South African airport contractors were killed in the suicide blast. Photograph: Keystone USA-Zuma/Rex Features

The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan, ISAF, confirmed only that a suicide bomber wearing an explosives vest attacked in the Kunar province’s Watahpur district, wounding three foreign troops.

A senior Afghan security official tells CBS News that the bomber walked into a group of American soldiers and local residents who had gathered for a ceremony launching work on a new bridge. He said the ISAF troops wounded were Americans, and an Afghan civilian was also killed in the blast.

Earlier Tuesday, a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital, killing at least 13 people in an attack that a militant group said was revenge for an anti-Islam film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad.

A senior Kabul police official tells CBS News the dead include eight South Africans, four Afghan nationals and one person from Kyrgyzstan. Many of the victims were employees of an aviation company, including pilots. Two sources have told CBS News separately that the victims of the attack worked for a company contracted to fly U.S. State Department staff within Afghanistan, Aviation Charter Solutions (ACS),

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Injured Contractors, USAID | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tierney and Cummings Seek Administration Help on Legislation to Save Taxpayers Billions on Insuring Federal Contractors Overseas

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 18, 2012

“IT”S TIME TO FIX THIS PROGRAM”

Washington, DC (Sept. 11, 2012)— September 17, 2012

Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. John F. Tierney, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget requesting support for, and input on, H.R. 5891, The Defense Base Act Insurance Improvement Act of 2012.

“This is a common-sense bill that would save the American taxpayers billions of dollars,” said Tierney. “Numerous government audits have concluded that we are paying too much for workers’ compensation insurance for overseas government contractors, and that these workers aren’t getting what they deserve. It’s time to fix this program.”

The legislation would transition the existing Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance program to a government self-insurance program. According to a 2009 Pentagon study, this change could save as much as $250 million a year. The study found: “In the long run, the self-insurance alternative may have the greatest potential for minimizing DBA insurance costs, and it has several administrative and compliance advantages as well.”

“We are sponsoring this legislation because several audits of the current DBA program have documented enormous unnecessary costs incurred by taxpayers,” Cummings and Tierney wrote.

The existing system has been a boondoggle for private insurance companies, which have reaped enormous profits under the program. According to an Oversight Committee investigation, insurance companies providing DBA insurance in Iraq and Afghanistan have made enormous underwriting profits that are significantly higher than those of traditional workers’ compensation insurers.

The letter from Tierney and Cummings requests support for the legislation and notes that “OMB may be evaluating similar options.”

Posted in ACE, Afghanistan, AIG and CNA, Chartis, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Defense Base Act Insurance, Department of Labor, Follow the Money, Political Watch, War Hazards Act, Zurich | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

At Least One Civilian Contractor Wounded in Camp Bastion Attack

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 17, 2012

In addition to the two U.S. Marines killed in the assault, eight military members and one civilian contractor were wounded.

Attackers in Afghanistan Wore US Uniforms  September 17, 2012

International coalition officials say the insurgents who attacked a British military base in Afghanistan Friday, killing two U.S. Marines, were dressed in U.S. Army uniforms and were armed with automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests.

The coalition said in a statement Sunday the 15 militants were organized into three teams and “executed a well-coordinated attack” against the airfield on Camp Bastion in Helmand province.

The alliance say the attackers destroyed six Harrier jets and “significantly damaged” two more. The militants also destroyed three coalition refueling stations and damaged six aircraft hangars.

International troops killed 14 of the insurgents and wounded one, who is in custody. Earlier reports said 18 militants died in the attack.

In addition to the two U.S. Marines killed in the assault, eight military members and one civilian contractor were wounded.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Injured Contractors | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

As many as Five “Other Americans” wounded, Camp Bastion Southern Afghanistan

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 14, 2012

KABUL Reuters  September 14, 2012

Two U.S. Marines were killed and other Americans were wounded on Friday during a Taliban attack on a base in southern Afghanistan where Britain’s Prince Harry is stationed, U.S. officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A U.S. official told Reuters that an initial report estimated five Americans were wounded but added that the extent of their injuries was unclear. The official said that this was only an initial report and that the number could change.

Crighton said the attack took place between 9 p.m. and midnight on Friday and that NATO-led forces were still securing the area in and around Camp Bastion.

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Joe Biden’s Uncounted Angels

Posted by defensebaseactcomp on September 11, 2012

“By the way, lest you think I’m a Republican partisan, neither Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney at the Republican national convention so much as mentioned Iraq or Afghanistan, let alone casualties. That might be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic, given that this is the party that normally falls all over itself, playing up its supposed support for wartime sacrifice.”

by David Isenberg at Huffington Post  September 11, 2012

No disrespect to Beau, Biden’s son, who served honorably in Iraq but perhaps if he was working  for KBR or Academi, instead of the Delaware National Guard, Biden might have been more sensitive to those who are also sacrificing.

If you weren’t listening closely you might have missed it but last week, at the Democratic national convention, Vice President Joe Biden gave a major diss to the private military and security contracting (PMSC) industry.

In the course of his speech he said:

And tonight — (applause) — and tonight — tonight I want to acknowledge — I want to acknowledge, as we should every night, the incredible debt we owe to the families of those 6,473 fallen angels and those 49,746 wounded, thousands critically, thousands who will need our help for the rest of their lives.
Folks, we never — we must never, ever forget their sacrifice and always keep them in our care and in our prayers.

Biden might actually be a bit off; another famed Biden gaffe perhaps. The official Pentagon estimate through Sept. 7 for fatalities, which includes Defense Department civilians is 6,594 but their wounded estimate is exactly the same as Biden’s.

Don’t get me wrong. As an American and military veteran the toll of the military dead and wounded, especially those killed or wounded in Iraq, a war of choice, not necessity, tears at me. All these deaths and casualties should be remembered.

But as long as we are going to do body counts let us not low ball. What about all the PMSC personnel who have also made the ultimate sacrifice?

I’ve written about this before but since this is such an unappreciated subject, let’s review.

The U.S. Department of Labor publishes figures based on data maintained by its Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, saying, “These reports do not constitute the complete or official casualty statistics of civilian contractor injuries and deaths.” These figures are not that useful as they refer to numbers of claims filed and not actual total fatalities. Their wounded totals also include figures for those injuries where there was no lost time or where lost time was just three or four days.

Still, through June 30 this year, the number of claims filed for Iraq and Afghanistan total 47,673 and 17,831, respectively. The number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are 1,569 and 1,173. So that’s 2,742 dead “fallen angels”, who were working to support U.S. troops, diplomats, and private firms per overall U.S. goals in those countries, that Biden did not include.

By the way, to get an idea of the sheer Joe Heller surrealism of trying to track contractor casualties see this post by Overseas Civilian Contractors.

A better sense of the toll can be seen in this 2010 paper written by Prof. Steve Schooner and Colin Swan of George Washington University Law School. As they noted:

As of June 2010, more than 2,008 contractors have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another 44 contractors killed were in Kuwait, many of whom supported the same missions. On top of that, more than 44,000 contractors have been injured, of which more than 16,000 were seriously wounded (see Figure 3). While these numbers rarely see the light of day, Figure 1 reflects the startling fact that contractor deaths now represent over twenty-five (25) percent of all U.S. fatalities since the beginning of these military actions.

In fact, in recent years contractors have, proportionately speaking, sacrificed even more than regular forces.

What is even more striking is that — in both Iraq and Afghanistan — contractors are bearing an increasing proportion of the annual death toll. In 2003, contractor deaths represented only 4 percent of all fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2004 to 2007, that number rose to 27 percent. From 2008 to the second quarter of 2010, contractor fatalities accounted for an eye-popping 40 percent of the combined death toll. In the first two quarters of 2010 alone, contractor deaths represented more than half — 53 percent — of all fatalities. This point bears emphasis: since January 2010, more contractors have died in Iraq and Afghanistan than U.S. military soldiers. In other words, contractors supporting the war effort today are losing more lives than the U.S. military waging these wars. Indeed, two recent estimates suggest private security personnel working for DoD in Iraq and Afghanistan — a small percentage of the total contractor workforce in these regions — were 1.8 to 4.5 times more likely to be killed than uniformed personnel.

No disrespect to Beau, Biden’s son, who served honorably in Iraq but perhaps if he was worked for KBR or Academi, instead of the Delaware National Guard, Biden might have been more sensitive to those who are also sacrificing.

By the way, lest you think I’m a Republican partisan, neither Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney at the Republican national convention so much as mentioned Iraq or Afghanistan, let alone casualties. That might be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic, given that this is the party that normally falls all over itself, playing up its supposed support for wartime sacrifice.

 Follow David Isenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/vanidan

Posted in Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties and Missing, Defense Base Act, Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Iraq, KBR, Political Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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