Workers Comp Zone


Veterans Day 2007.

The Iraq War continues, unstopped by a Democratic Congress that lacks the votes to override the Bush-Cheney team.

It’s odd how you can live your life forgetting about the conflict thousands of miles away. The Bachelor is still agonizing about who he’ll pick for the rose ceremony. The stars are still dancing. Dan Rather is still on TV. The Iron Chefs are still doing battle.

I’m sure some of my readers are concerned about whether we’re in the runup to an attack on Iran and how we can end waterboarding and close Gitmo. Others are more concerned about Islamofacism, the vulnerability of U.S. ports, and linkage of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

And, unfortunately many of us don’t know the kurds from Kurds from Curds and Whey. Blackwater in Blackhawks. Its hard to keep it straight.

And finding Bin Laden is proving harder than a blind person successfully finding Where’s Waldo.

But this is a workers’ comp blog. Let’s don’t forget that the Pentagon is doing this war (and the Afghan one) by renting armies of outside contractors. Wackenhut. Blackwater. Halliburton. DynCorp. L-3/Titan. And other names you’ve never heard of.

There are over 100,000 of these contractors in Iraq.

Contractors that do hauling and logistics work. Convoy and embassy security guards. Laundry.Translators. Infrastructure workers. The list goes on and on. And those are the workers we know about. Undoubtedly there are “off the books workers” doing unnamed missions that offically don’t exist.

Some are probably professional soldiers of fortune. doing the work for thrills and ideology. Others may just be workers hoping to make some
extra cash.

With little or no oversight, these workers have become the backbone of U.S. operations in Iraq. And when things go bad-as they did recently with news that Blackwater contractors were involved in killings-they can go very bad. DynCorp’s employees were involved in a nasty incident in the last few days: … nted=print

These workers are getting maimed and killed at alarming rates.Whatever your position on the war, veterans day is a day to stop and think about these folks.

Here’s a link to a piece in the Sn Diego Union about these workers: … tract.html

In many cases they’re covered under the War Hazards Act a Federal law.

From time to time I’ll be looking further at that act and these workers.
They’re veterans. Civilian veterans. The new face of war.

Julius Young

Category: Political developments