Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Friday, July 18, 2008

THE WAR -- The Money [Part 30]

Comments are flying about “Bush Lied” charges being left-wing paranoia. I guess it depends on what a lie is. Let’s see, you’ve got your flat-out-lie, your bald face lie, your genteel falsehood. And then there’s the Texas whopper, the all purpose bunk and we mustn’t forget that political standby, artful misrepresentation. Sissela Bok in Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life writes about lies as excuses, lies of justification, lies in crises, lies protecting peers and clients. Bok also analyzes "lies to the incompetent.”

Has the Bush war administration been engaging in lies to the incompetent–namely us, the American people?

Maybe that paranoia is really a bill of particulars. Maybe we need legal authority to seriously examine, while under oath, policies and pronouncements that may have been lies of commission and omission. These lies (if that is what they turn out to be) should be sorted out from the plain, vanilla on steroids incompetence, riddling the Bush years.

Here’s a report on a “surge” you hear little or nothing about, electrical deaths and injuries to our troops in Iraq.

Who’s to blame? As usual, the stone-walling by KBR and the Bush administration matches the Great Wall of China. Nice point in this report about “accusations of overbilling” and “[hiring] unskilled Iraqis who were paid only a few dollars a day” to electrical work.

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The New York Times July 18, 2008
Electrical Risks at Iraq Bases Are Worse Than Said
By JAMES RISEN

WASHINGTON — Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.

During just one six-month period — August 2006 through January 2007 — at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged American military facilities in Iraq, including the military’s largest dining hall in the country, documents obtained by The New York Times show. Two soldiers died in an electrical fire at their base near Tikrit in 2006, the records note, while another was injured while jumping from a burning guard tower in May 2007.

And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis. . . .

The reports of shoddy electrical work have raised new questions about the Bush administration’s heavy reliance on contractors in Iraq, particularly because they come after other high-profile disputes involving KBR. They include, providing unsafe water to soldiers and failing to protect female employees who were sexually assaulted.

Officials say the administration contracted out so much work in Iraq that companies like KBR were simply overwhelmed by the scale of the operations. Some of the electrical work, for example, was turned over to subcontractors, some of which hired unskilled Iraqis who were paid only a few dollars a day.

GO HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

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