Sunday, May 28, 2006

War Profiteering

Earlier today, I listened to NPR's "Story of the Day" podcast while riding the Metro North to CT. The story I listened to was about the dangerous conditions that civilian contractor drivers face in Iraq on a daily basis. Unsurprisingly, several of the former drivers were enticed by the high pay ($100K or more) after being laid of from their jobs. They all expressed frustrations over the fact that most of the trucks are not protected by armor. KBR, the subsidiary of Halliburton that hires these drivers to deliver supplies to the troops, claims that the process of fortifying the trucks is difficult and time consuming. Meanwhile, there are others cruising around in $55K Ford Excursions. Whenever the drivers complained about the lack of protection, they were told by their KBR managers that they should just go home if they didn't like it there because there are plenty of interested people to replace them. At least 63 drivers have died in Iraq: 24 Americans, the rest third-country nationals.

The most disturbing part of the story was this quote from a former driver: "The nickname we had for KBR was Kill 'em, Bag 'em and Replace 'em."

Read the transcript here.