Iraq For Sale

Friday, September 29, 2006

Written by May Warren

From laundry to cafeteria food to drinking water, American contractors in Iraq provide countless services to military personnel. The new film, Iraq for Sale , by Robert Greenwood exposes this multi million dollar industry that often puts profit before people.

The film alleges that large corporations such as Halliburton and Backwater, are handed contracts in Iraq by the US government. They provide food for the troops, translators, and truck drivers, even interrogators in prisons. However according to sources in the film they constantly cut corners and are there to make money and not for their country’s best interests. Although they spend voraciously, the film claims these contractors pay no attention to the quality of their products or the safety of their staff. Throughout the film tearful family members testify that they believe their loved ones were not adequately protected by these companies.

For instance, Iraqi insurgents have killed several truck drivers when they were sent down a very dangerous road without proper protection. Soldiers complained that their foods was terrible and they were sleeping in moldy tents while company contractors had lavish accommodations. One former Halliburton employee testified that the supposed clean water the company provided for the troops to shower in was actually heavily contaminated and missing chlorine. Contractors are also requited as translators, without any proper training or proper language skills. This incompetency, say sources in the film has led to misinformation and miscommunication.

The contractors also played a part in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. They were brought in to act as interrogators, without proper training or any real chain of command. No one was in charge and this contributed to Iraqi prisoners ending up beaten and tortured. In many cases, the private contractors made much more money then the US government employees, and often took over army jobs. Tragically, insists the film, they are not held to the same code of ethics as miltary personnel and are free to abuse Iraqi civilians without being held accountable.

However, those interviewed in the film claim that despite these crimes the companies will continue to be awarded the contracts and will not be held accountable for their negligence. Sources say that this is due to connections in the US government, in particular the Republican Party. Companies like Halliburton and Backwater are virtually handed the contracts, without any competition. Even if they do a terrible job that results in the deaths of their employees and the mishandling of missions, they will continue to be employed.

The film "Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers" is being screened for free on campus on Tuesday, October 10th at 7pm in Thornbrough building, room 1307. The event is hosted by the CSA.

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