Why Do Free Markets Hate Our Troops?

News & Politics

For over two decades, we've heard that privatization is the way to go; that the private sector does everything better than the government ever can. This belief has persisted despite the success of federal programs like Head Start, and yes, even Social Security and Medicare.

Even after WorldCom, Enron, Countrywide, and now the IndyMac bank failure, the myth of corporate competence always being superior to that of government persists. And even though Republicans have given lip service to being supportive of, even worshipful of, the military, they've done what they can to outsource that too.

But how is it possible to defend the profit motive when it bumps up against endangering the very troops that they've been using as political props for the last seven years?

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.

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