Skip to main content

It was good to see an editorial in The New York Times this morning blasting KBR for trying to give its people bonuses, in light of the recent revelations about its shoddy electrical work in Iraq.

Namely, it was found that 90% of its work there was faulty.

I have followed this issue closely since January 2008, when a Green Beret, Ryan Maseth -- the son of Cheryl Harris, now my friend -- was electrocuted.  

I've written about it often here. You may recall: The military claimed at first that he had carried a hair dryer into a shower, all his fault.  Turns out: It was a lie.  Cheryl kept fighting and her efforts led to probes by the press, the Pentagon and Congress.  

She has sued KBR.  Many other cases of soldier electrocutions have since come to light.  KBR whistleblowers have surfaced. (Let's not forget the Cheney connection.) And so on.

Here's an excerpt from the Times' editorial.  In its final graf, not quoted here, it refers to the Ryan Maseth case.

Far from suffering for its shoddy military contracting in Iraq, Congressional investigators have found that KBR Inc. was awarded $83 million in performance bonuses. Even worse, more than half came after Pentagon investigators linked faulty KBR wiring to the electrocution of four soldiers intent on relaxation. One soldier died taking a shower and another in a swimming pool.

How such settings became part of harm's way for the military was the question put to an electrical engineer hired by the Army who reported finding that 90 percent of KBR's wiring work in Iraq was not done safely. Some 70,000 buildings where troops lived and worked were not up to code, according to the engineer, who told a Congressional hearing of "some of the most hazardous, worst-quality work I have ever inspected."

Officials of KBR, the offshoot of the Halliburton conglomerate once run so lucratively by former Vice President Dick Cheney, deny responsibility and say the work met the British code used in the war zone...Confronted with the airing of these lethal findings, the Pentagon at least had enough sense to tell Congress last week that KBR bonuses were suspended pending a full review. Senator Byron Dorgan's description of the Pentagon's performance as "stunning incompetence" is an understatement for such tragic profiteering.

Greg Mitchell's lattest books are "So Wrong for So Long" (the media and Iraq) and "Why Obama Won."  He is editor of Editor & Publisher and his Twitter feed is here.

Originally posted to GregMitch on Sun May 24, 2009 at 08:14 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Bob Johnson, bink, vicki, Buckeye BattleCry, samizdat, GOTV, Sprinkles, dengre, tommurphy, eeff, Mnemosyne, Sandy on Signal, marjo, object16, freespeech, agoldnyc, bronte17, Cassandra77, OCD, stevej, mrblifil, barath, luaptifer, roses, javelina, Cedwyn, Oke, Getreal1246, danthrax, TexDem, Dallasdoc, MA Liberal, niteskolar, MeToo, Panda, Matt Esler, Sam Loomis, kfred, TexasLefty, Knightrider, The Gryffin, Tirge Caps, nailbender, joanneleon, chumley, Simian, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, Alice Marshall, mjd in florida, Bill Section 147, frandor55, Clem Yeobright, juliesie, Laurence Lewis, jimstaro, Inland, GreyHawk, lotlizard, Skid, blue jersey mom, Shaking the Tree, snoopydawg, dsteffen, Ekaterin, Paper Cup, noweasels, begone, tarheelblue, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, sherlyle, testvet6778, whitewidow, Yellow Canary, buhdydharma, cliffradz, tecampbell, imabluemerkin, armadillo, bleeding heart, Pilgrim X, llbear, kurt, chapel hill guy, AmericanRiverCanyon, old wobbly, FoundingFatherDAR, marykk, Cronesense, gloriana, mdgarcia, FishOutofWater, Jimdotz, DWG, twinpeaks, jnhobbs, jhop7, idahojim, JML9999, Empower Ink, OleHippieChick, DCBlue, Quicksilver2723, mofembot, luckylizard, rhutcheson, papicek, LaFeminista, 207wickedgood, 1BQ, MTmarilyn, Dirtandiron, An Affirming Flame, CanyonWren, RustyCannon, earicicle, followyourbliss, obscuresportsquarterly, IreGyre, CityLightsLover, sherijr, MizKit, Just Bob, parse this, rb137, amk for obama, kjoftherock, chrome327, Ronald Singleterry, BonnieSchlitz, polar bear, juturna, DailyDrew, DrFitz, cocinero, Anne was here, watershed, RepTracker, I love OCD, nicethugbert, wahine, Situational Lefty, grottoes, BarackStarObama, one voice, stevie avebury, CWRU Took My Money, whitewash, sleight

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site