Contractors in Iraq Are Hidden Casualties of War

ProPublica & the LA Times piece about contractors in Iraq:

‘They are the unappreciated patriots’
In Iraq and Afghanistan, contractors like Reggie Lane often face the same dangers as U.S. troops. And make the same terrible sacrifices.

There’s the cerebral argument that says, “he knew the risks and willingly accepted them.” There’s the human response that feels sad for him and his family.

A few weeks ago¬† read Big Boy Rules. Shortly after that I read Blank Spots on the Map. I feel like this topic falls right in between the two. Big Boy Rules talked so much about the privatization of the army, outsourcing of the armed forces, and the repercussions of such. Almost more than anything I was amazed by just how little press coverage talks about the fact that this booming industry (both defensive and contract work) is doing a lot of the work in places like Iraq. It definitely gets airplay, but not to the proportionally to the amount the private sector is doing over there. Blank Spots on the Map goes into detail about the government’s efforts to keep information of of the general public’s hands and heads, and in general in the dark. Granted, some times this is certainly warranted, but as many believe the government goes beyond what is necessary.

So a story like this falls in the middle. The government outsources what it doesn’t want to do (or more appropriately, what it doesn’t want to get killed doing), and when that situation gets messy, it gets ignored.

Here’s a fairly well known and widely circulated video of a KBR driver, Preston Wheeler, in an ambush. He was the fifth truck in the caravan. Pretty harrowing.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxx1Lo8fZwQ]

Here is video of the same ambush but the driver of the third truck, Keven Dagit, gets killed.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUOEyuA_ozI]