Category Archives: Outsourcing

Another Global War on Terror Toxic Legacy

Our disposable society example #807.

It looks like the US’ major military involvements seem to poison US soldiers and the civilians of the countries we fight.  Agent Orange in Vietnam.  Gulf War syndrome in that war. Now the US government has covered up the burning of toxic waste in open pits at US miltary bases by private contractor Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR), a former subsidiary of Halliburton.

Since the illness’ effects are delayed, respiratory issues or cancers, the VA won’t cover it. Iraqi and Afghan civilians, like the Vietnamese, are just left to suffer.

Of course, outsourcing the burn pits to private contractors allowed them to cut costs by cutting corners:

Did the military’s use of private contractors like KBR in some ways help to facilitate this crisis?

KBR operated many of the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are some regulations for contractors, but they’re not nearly as stringent, and the penalties are not nearly as harsh for contractors as they are for soldiers. So these contractors were super-careless with these burn pits. There were burning anything and everything in them, and they didn’t care and they didn’t think they could be held accountable.

They’ve grown to the point where they feel that the government can’t operate without them. These companies have that arrogance. Contractors that were operating the burn pits in Iraq were actually told by their headquarters, “If they’re going to investigate us over these burn pits, don’t worry about it. If we pull out, they can’t run this base.”

Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration hasn’t been helpful to whistle-blowers on this issue. Thankfully, in the documents that Chelsea Manning leaked is information about how the US military was aware of the burn pit health hazards.

The GWoT just keeps giving.