Sunday, March 27, 2005

U.S. Civilians Killed in Iraq Counted?

This Union Tribune article talks about American civilians who are killed in combat. Don't know what the numbers are, and not particularly anxious to find out, but the figures cited in the article don't seem low:

San Diego's Titan Corp. has sustained the highest number of casualties of 119 U.S. companies operating in Iraq, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

At least 136 Titan employees and subcontractors have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.

I guess that's one way for Rummy to keep the death count down.

I don't have too much sympathy for contractors who willingly go into the Iraqi deathtrap and get killed, but I do feel great sorrow for their families. On the other hand, the contractors going to Iraq are not coming from America's upper classes or middle classes - they are coming from the lower-middle classes. People living in the Bush/Reagan economies making $8/hr find out they have the chance to earn $50/hr or more and they just can't help but go. In some cases I'm sure it's pure greed, but in others, I suspect that many go being completely ignorant of the facts on the ground. I'd be interested to know how many of the folks that go over there get their news almost exclusively from Fox. 75%? Higher? If you think Iraq is not in flames, you'd probably be a lot more likely to sign up with one of the companies asking you to risk your life for their profits.

Maybe these folks think going to Iraq for a year or two at $50+/hr would help them retire early or something? I'm not sure. I would like to hear some stories from some contractors who've made it back to the U.S. in one piece, if they'd do it again, if they have done it again, and also get perspectives from families who lost their contractor-husbands. Does everybody think it was worth it? Is it all rah-rah-rah-America, or do they actually feel any sense of loss, or do the feel duped by Bush and Fox News?

On the kill numbers, I'm curious what the current numbers are for soldiers who made it back to the U.S. outside of a coffin - in some physical/mental state. How many thousands of returned Iraq vets are armless and/or legless and/or sightless and/or brain-damaged and/or nerve-damaged and/or crippled and/or clinically depressed and/or psychotic? And what percentage of them have sufficient health care? 20%? 25%?

How many have killed themselves? How many have killed family members?

No comments: