The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently released updated figures for the number of civilian contractors killed in American war zones since September 1, 2001. A minimum of 1,688 civilians have died, and there have been over 37,000 injuries reported among people working for U.S. contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan -- but the DOL acknowledges that the report is incomplete. Civilian contractors make up about half the total U.S. forces in war zones, but the Government Accountability Office quietly issued a report last week that said the Pentagon still hasn't implemented a Congressional order to track fatalities among U.S. contractors. Neither the Department of Defense, nor the State Department or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) can give an accurate figure of how many contractors are employed, or how many have been injured or killed. A contracting officer at the State Department said there was no need to track local Iraqi hires, even though statutory language exists to the contrary. The bottom line is that nine years into the most contractor-intense war in U.S. history, no one can say for sure how many contractors are working for the U.S. in the war zones, what they are doing, or how many of them have been killed or wounded.
By Anne Landman on October 09, 2009