Home » Posts tagged 'The PMSC Observer'

Tag Archive


Afghanistan Agility/PWC/GCC Army CID* Army Criminal Investigation Command* Blackwater/Xe Burn Pits Cheryl Harris Chromium-6 Commission on Wartime Contracting David Isenberg* DCAA* DLA* DoD* DoDIG* DoJ* DoS* DynCorp* DynCorp CIVPOL* Electrocutions/Shocks Employee Issues-KBR False Claims Act Fluor* GAO Halliburton Hexavalent Chromium Holidays* Human Trafficking Indiana National Guard Iraq Jamie Leigh Jones KBR LAWSUITS Lawsuits Against KBR LOGCAP LOGCAP IV Oregon National Guard Pentagon Personal POGO Qarmat Ali Rape Reports & Investigations SIGIR Sodium Dichromate U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ)

The Uncounted Contractor Casualties

David IsenbergThe PMSC Observer & Huffington Post

Author, Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq (Praeger Security International)

Of all the things said and written about private military and security contractors working for the U.S. government in various war zones one of the least discussed is the sacrifices they make. And like regular military forces they also pay the ultimate sacrifice, as in dying. Unlike regular military personnel their deaths rarely get any notice, aside from a company press release and a few paragraphs in the hometown newspaper. (click HERE for Fallen Contractors Memorial at American Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan)

Their sacrifices are so unrecognized that if Washington, D.C. were to build yet another war memorial on the mall The Tomb of the Unknown Contractor would have to be considered a viable candidate for selection. To paraphrase the old saw about regular military forces, one might say in regard to recognition of contractors wounded and killed, “nothing is too good for our contractors so that’s what we’ll give them. Nothing.”

Admittedly there is slightly better recognition of the wounded and dead contractors than when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq but that is not saying a whole lot.  There simply has not been much detailed analysis of this subject. That is why a recent paper strongly deserved attention. It is Dead Contractors: The Un-Examined Effect of Surrogates on the Public’s Casualty Sensitivity by Prof. Steven L. Schooner and student Collin D. Swan, both of the George Washington University Law School,  was recently published in the Journal of National Security Law & Policy.

In the paper they examine the “casualty sensitivity” effect. Economists define this as an inverse relationship exists between the number of military deaths and public support. Currently, most studies suggest that “majorities of the public have historically considered the potential and actual casualties in U.S. wars and military operations to be an important factor in their support.” Read the remainder of this entry »