CASUALTIES OF BUSH'S CONTRACT ARMY

Here comes another dirty little secret about the Bushites' disastrous Iraq war: Many more American troops have died there than they have admitted. These troops aren't part of the Army or other official military units. They are part of the hidden "contract army" that Bush has quietly sent to war. While there are about 150,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq, there are more than 120,000 other men and women serving alongside the military, but drawing their paychecks through such Pentagon contractors as Halliburton, Blackwater, DynCorp, and Custer Battles.

Here comes another dirty little secret about the Bushites’ disastrous Iraq war: Many more American troops have died there than they have admitted. These troops aren’t part of the Army or other official military units. They are part of the hidden “contract army” that Bush has quietly sent to war. While there are about 150,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq, there are more than 120,000 other men and women serving alongside the military, but drawing their paychecks through such Pentagon contractors as Halliburton, Blackwater, DynCorp, and Custer Battles.

Bush’s corporate army not only provides support services – including doing laundry, serving meals and delivering water – but it also is engaged in such direct military functions as interrogating prisoners, training the Iraq army, guarding the Green Zone, protecting military convoys, analyzing intelligence, and providing paramilitary security.

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These are hired hands, not soldiers, and mostly they lack the training, discipline, and equipment of the regular forces – yet they’re thrown into the same deadly environment, getting shot, bombed, maimed, and killed. Yet, the Bushites don’t even keep count of them. A spokesman coldly says: “There is no requirement for the U.S. government to track these numbers.”

Excuse me, but they’re not numbers. They are people. And the Labor Department, which receivess workers compensation claims, has quietly recorded that at least 917 of these people have died in Bush’s war. Another 12,000 have been wounded in battle or injured on the job. That’s about one-third more causalities than the Bushites have told us about – a hidden toll of this awful war, and another measure of its deceit and immorality.

Rep. Jan Schakowski is sponsoring a bill to requiring the Pentagon to have the decency to start counting those people killed and maimed in Bush’s privatized military. For information, call 202-225-2111.

“Contractor deaths in Iraq soar to record,” The New York Times, May 19, 20007

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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