Deadly KBR Showers Came With $80M Bonuses

From Jeremy Scahill at The Nation today, a synopsis of explosive testimony before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee regarding contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (former Halliburton subsidiary and by far the largest beneficiary of federal wartime funding, ever). According to the story, KBR received more than $80 million in bonuses for installing electrical writing in military facilities in Iraq — $30 million of that was paid after a soldier was killed by faulty wiring in one of the showers on base. According to Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J, 18 soldiers have perished under similar circumstances.

The take-home passage:

James Childs, a master electrician hired by the Army to review electrical work in Iraq during 2008, testified that KBR’s work in Iraq was the “most hazardous, worst quality work” he’d ever seen. He said his investigation found improper wiring in “every” building KBR wired in Iraq (of which there are thousands) and that KBR’s rewiring work in buildings that were previously safely wired resulted in the electrical system becoming unsafe. Childs said that KBR did not do any work “according to code.” He also testified that the same risks exist in Afghanistan, which he recently visited. “While doing inspections in Afghanistan, I found the exact same code violations,” Childs said.

For its part, KBR denies any culpability for the electrocution deaths.

Scahill quotes a former military official once in charge of such contracts, saying the bonuses were paid out of fear KBR would cease work, that they became  “too big to fail.” That’s a big reason why hearings like these — as informative and cathartic they are — never result in any real action. Behemoths like KBR  have too many friends in Washington, and  have become utterly indispensable to Long War operations in the two-front theater.

The corporate war industry — first conceived by Republicans, long acquiesced to by Democrats — now full in its glory. These lawmakers, now twisted in frustration over electrocuted soldiers, have no one to blame but themselves.

One thought on “Deadly KBR Showers Came With $80M Bonuses”

  1. Another shining example of government incompetence! These are the same knuckleheads that gave us the War on drugs, the empire, the Post Office, Social Security and public schools. Now they want to run health care, the automobile industry, and the financial sector, just to mention a few.

    Be afraid.

  2. Well, I’d say this news is shocking but it really isn’t…OK…it is literally…but not figuratively…afer all, what else can ya expect from the gummyment?

  3. Love “Barack Odrama” — great name. Just sharing the following.

    The hearing is covered by C.I. in yesterday’s Iraq snapshot

    And by Kat

    C.I. provided excerpts of exchanges and many points not in the above article by Schahill and Kat offers two big issues with the hearing including the Dem Senators “oh my” type attitudes where saying “oh my” means you don’t have to do anything about it.

  4. I believe this falls more under corporate criminal conduct. Although the government oversight seems to have been lax, to put it charitably.

  5. I would love to see every last one of the scumbags in charge of KBR hog-tied and thrown into a giant swimming pool, and then have a 50,000 volt/10,00-amp live electrical generator thrown into the water after them. My only concern is that they’d all die before experiencing the full force of agony associated with slow electrocution.

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