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Civilian Contractor Deaths in Iraq Reach 770

Posted in H.L. News, Main Blog (All Posts) on March 27th, 2007 4:03 am by HL

America’s hidden war dead

Chicago Tribune
More than 770 civilians working for U.S. firms have lost their lives supporting the military in Iraq, and some families are now speaking out

HOUSTON — Like thousands of other Americans who have served in Iraq since the U.S. intervention began four years ago, Walter Zbryski came home in a coffin. Only his coffin was not draped in an American flag or accompanied by a military honor guard.

Instead, the mangled body of the 56-year-old retired firefighter from New York City was shipped back to his family in June 2004 in the bloodied clothes in which he died, with half of his head blown away, according to Zbryski’s brother Richard.

“I viewed the body,” Richard Zbryski said. “What really upset me was that he was laying there floating in at least 6 inches of his own body fluids. They didn’t even clean him up for us.”

Zbryski’s death was not counted among the official tally of more than 3,200 American military personnel who have been killed in Iraq, nor was it noted by the Defense Department in a news release. That’s because Zbryski was not a soldier–he was a truck driver working in the private army of hundreds of thousands of contractors hired by the Pentagon to support the logistical side of the massive American war effort in Iraq.

More than 770 civilian contractors working for American companies have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began on March 20, 2003, according to an obscure office inside the U.S. Department of Labor, which loosely tracks the figures. If those deaths–of truck drivers and cooks, laundry workers and security guards–are added to the military toll, the human cost of the U.S. war effort in Iraq is nearly 25 percent higher.

HLs Take:
Looks like Cheney’s Army of Halliburton/KBR civilians get even less care then our soldiers. Of course the real soldiers probably have little sympathy for the guys from KBR who make 3 times as much money as members of our own Army, to do the same work. This is one more way that they can get people to keep going to Iraq. They are paying guys like the ex-NYC firefighter to go over there and do the work that they can’t get enough volunteers to do. Don’t expect a state funeral if you happen to get killed over there though. Maybe its just me but it seems there has got to be a better way to make a living.

6 Responses to “Civilian Contractor Deaths in Iraq Reach 770”

  1. eshever Says:

    You’re right that contractors get less care than soldiers, and no benefits once the work is over. You have to put aside your own money for the future and any health care or retirement. You certainly don’t get the kind of retirement or benefits that the military provides. My sig other is in Iraq now working as a contractor. Nope, don’t feel bad about making the money. We’re planning to buy a house with it and my dh is risking his life to earn that money. However, people seem to have this belief that soldiers resent contractors. I’ve never heard that except in blogs. My dh was with the National Guard in Iraq for a year. His reaction to the contractors he met was, “Where do I sign up for that job?” A lot of times they are doing the same work on base as the soldiers but getting paid better. Are you going to blame them for it, or look into getting a job like that yourself? Many of the contractors are former military. Personally, both my dh and myself hate the war. We’re both Democrats and neither of us has ever supported Bush. It’s a dangerous way to make a living, even for just a year. I’m waiting today to hear from him. He’s overdue to check in with me and I’ve been checking news stories and the internet all night, trying to find out if there’s been mortaring or fighting where he is. I’m glad stories like the one you’ve excerpted are being told. People should know more about the kind of people who are contractors and what’s happening to them.

  2. Bill Says:

    Well HL just like eshever posted, You make the decision to go over there and do the job. You know it is a war zone and that is why they pay so much and you are told up front that you don’t get any benifits. But the GREED for the almighty buck is stronger than common sence. Yes you get payed more and you don’t have to pay taxes on the money you make so people are jumping on the chance to make alot of money fast. That is all they are looking at until a family member dies and than they want benifits. To bad that person knew going into it that they weren’t getting anything but a big paycheck and they chose to go so no one owes them anything else. As for the military not being able to get people to volunteers, you have no clue what you are talking about there so you shouldn’t post false comments on things that you know nothing about, but you do it all the time any way. There is no such thing as a volunteer in the military you are told to do things, they don’t as you to volunteer. So that statement is a lie like normal.
    Oh yeah HL I am still waiting for you to show me the proof that the US is just there for the OIL

  3. ummm.... Says:

    Actually we do have a volunteer military. No draft, at least not yet.

  4. lwm Says:

    Not only are us contractors in the line of fire, we are getting fired when we report abuse from the Companies hireing us.

  5. ex-soldier Says:

    What lack of benefits are you speaking of? A company has offered me $250K, health and dental for me and my family, paid leave, and 3X the standard military short term, long term, and life insurance as the military, plus I can pay out of pocket for anything additional, and I’m a veteran so I get the Arlington burial if I desire.

    I think you should be ashamed of yourself, this article is an sad attempt to discourage brave individuals from risking death, widowing their spouse, and leaving their children parent-less for the possibility of a better life for themselves and their family, there is nothing more American or human. So you have a political axe to grind, it must be nice you can live in a world were nothing but politics matters, just don’t forget the wealth and resources you enjoy came on the back of the type of people I just described and the military they support.

  6. Sunshine Says:

    You know…this is an old blog, but the story is still the same. The people going over as civilian contractors know what they are getting into, most (not all) do it because they can’t find a better way to resolve issues here on home soil. There are those that go because they feel they can help our soldiers and to try and make a difference. I agree that all those going still deserve better treatment. Some are told many lies about how it will be when they get there, some, don’t care. They are just looking for a better way of life and are willing to risk it all to get there. The sad part of all of this is the way they are looked upon by many who “judge” and try to justify the reasoning without having stepped into that individual’s shoes. I have never heard any of the contractors say anything negative about the military officials they work side by side with…they regard each other with the utmost respect. Each person makes their own decisions and they should respect that…