Death Without End

From Holden:

After ten days in the third world without TV, internet access, or newspapers I return to find not much has changed. Chimpy’s support of our troops has left 1,796 of them dead, and the contractor bodies are stacked to the rafters as well.

Based on death and injury claims filed with the U.S. Labor Department, 217 non-U.S. contractors and 113 U.S. contractors have been killed since the March 2003 invasion, the report from Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said. The largest increase occurred in the quarter ended June 30 when 36 mostly Iraqi contractors were killed, as were 18 Americans.

Bowen’s report and a July 21 Pentagon assessment reported at least 2,000 Iraqi security force personnel have been killed in the two years since the invasion.


Contractors are required by a 1941 law called the Defense Base Act to carry death and injury insurance for both U.S. citizens and foreign workers operating under government contracts. Claims are filed with private carriers and could eventually be reimbursed by the U.S. government. The Labor Department’s Office of Workers Compensation manages the program.

Injury and death claims from contractors rose 31 percent from March 30 to June 30, from 2,582 to 3,389, according to Bowen.

The largest number of Iraqi contract workers, 22, died Dec. 5, 2004, when the bus they were riding to perform clean-up work at a U.S. ammunition dump near Tikrit was attacked by insurgents. The victims worked for Al-Naseem Co. for General Trading, a subcontractor of closely held Environmental Chemical Corp.