Effect Measure

I don’t know what to say about this, except it appears at this point to implicate theuse of slave labor in the construction of the US Embassy in Baghdad, aided, abetted and with the knowledge of the US State Department (hat tip Boingboing) . You decide:

The US State Department is denying the claims of occupational health and safety violations while at the same time saying they can’t control how foreign laborers are treated:

“At this time our reach does not extend to third-country hiring practices,” said William Moser, the deputy assistant secretary for acquisitions. (Washington Post via Star-Telegram)

Filipinos and other foreign laborers are used because Iraqis won’t work on these projects within the Green Zone, the heavily fortified US occupation command sector. The work is subcontracted to large companies, in this case a Kuwaiti firm. At that point the US contracting authority apparently washes its hands of the matter.

But no amount of washing will remove this kind of stain.


  1. #1 Charles Roten
    July 30, 2007

    Why should this surprise us?

    This is just another example of a cutting edge free market approach to making people’s lives better.

    Kind of chokes you up, doesn’t it?

  2. #2 rickr
    July 30, 2007

    Well, they did such a crack job for the army…


    “This mostly invisible, but indispensable army of low-paid workers has helped set new records for the largest civilian workforce ever hired in support of a U.S. war. They may be the most significant factor to the Pentagon�s argument that privatizing military support services is far more cost-efficient for the U.S. taxpayer than using its own troops to maintain camps and feed its ranks.

    But American contractors returning home frequently share horrible tales of the working and living conditions that these TCNs endure on a daily basis.

    TCNs frequently sleep in crowded trailers, wait outside in line in 100 degree heat to eat �slop,� lack adequate medical care and work almost every waking hour seven days a week for little or no overtime pay. Frequently, the workers lack proper safety equipment for hard labor

    And when insurgents fire incoming mortars and rockets at the sprawling military camps, American contractors slip on helmets and bulletproof vests, but TCNs are frequently shielded by only the shirts on their backs and the flimsy trailers they sleep in.

    Adding to these hardships, some TCNs complain publicly about not being paid according to their contracts and they also accuse their employers of �bait-and-switch� recruitment tactics where they are falsely recruited for jobs in the Middle East and then pressured to work in Iraq. Once in Iraq, their passports are held to prevent them from escaping. ”

  3. #3 Charles Roten
    July 30, 2007

    Once in Iraq, their passports are held to prevent them from escaping.

    Well, look at it this way. It’s simpler and cheaper than going after would-be escapees with teams of bloodhounds.

    Besides, in their present frame of mind, the Iraqis aren’t likely to set up any “underground railroads”.

  4. #4 Paul Todd
    July 30, 2007

    Why are they importing labour to Iraq?. I believe there are many Iraqi’s needing work.

    The lack of human rights concerns shown by the state department under Rices helm are not surprising. We have lowered our standards to such an extent we now dare not even say anything to China about human rights abuses for fear the laughing fit which would be induced could slow their purchases of bonds needed to fund our Wars, and also because we really do not care.

  5. #5 revere
    July 30, 2007

    Paul: Because the Iraqis won’t take the work. Too dangerous.

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