July 10, 2004

Further Outsourcing Horror Stories from Iraq

Outsourcing the Iraq War and occupation is one of the more unfortunate ideas of the Pentagon. Unfortunate because when the company providing the service provides shoddy service, only minimal consequences arise. And the government can say that it wasn't their fault that things were done so badly, they didn't directly employ the people. If we must outsource the work, then we need to find a way to hold the government responsible for their selection of their subcontractors, much like the human rights campaign for oversight of sweatshops makes companies, like Gap, responsible for the human rights of the workers of their subcontractors.

Among the more shocking exchanges revealed in the Taguba classified annexes are a series of E-mails sent by Major David Dinenna of the 320th MP Battalion. The E-mails, sent in October and November to Major William Green of the 800th MP Brigade, and copied to the higher chain of command, show a quixotic attempt to simply get the detainees at Abu Graib edible food. Dinenna pressed repeatedly for food that wouldn't make prisoners vomit. He criticized the private food contractor for shorting the facility on hundreds of meals a day, and for providing food containing bugs, rats, and dirt.

"As each day goes by tension within the prison population increases," Dinenna wrote. "...Simple fixes, food, would help tremendously." Instead of getting help, Major Green scolded him. "Who is making the charges that there is dirt, bugs or what ever in the food?," Major Green replied in an E-mail. "If it is the prisoners I would take it with a grain of salt." Dinenna shot back: "Our MPs, Medics and field surgeon can easily identify bugs, rats, and dirt, and they did." Ultimately, the food contract was not renewed, an Army spokeswoman says, although the contractor holds other contracts with the military.

Via Just a Bump in the Beltway

Posted by Mary at July 10, 2004 06:09 PM | Human Rights | Technorati links |