Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Forgotten

When Kirk was in the military there was a great deal I never thought about. I really never considered the support systems that were in place for family when a military member is sent on an unaccompanied tour - mostly because I never really had to use them. When Kirk was in the army it was our friend's unit that was called up to the first Gulf War, not Kirk's. In the Air Force he had only one longish tour (in Italy during the Kosovo engagement) and that was unexpected. Certainly I never felt that I had to use any of the resources that were out there. I was always aware, however, that they were there.

When Kirk went missing as a contractor I became excruciatingly aware of how different it is as a civilian. There was no base counseling, no chain of command to assign someone to help us out. There was no reliable plan of action, no one to assure me that they had done this before, that everyone knew what should happen. When things were difficult for us there was no one to call; when our claims in Kirk's name were ignored there was no established precedence to refer to. He and thousands of other contractors were serving, but the government hadn't even done the little that was required of them.

How much worse, how much more horrific is it then for the contractors who are not American - for the Iraqis who are daily serving our military, daily risking their lives? They are not only in danger from the violence in their country, they are at constant risk simply because they are associating with the occupying forces.

Dan Hardie, a British blogger, has written about three Iraqi contractors who worked extensively with the British military and are now trying desperately to get asylum. Read... please.


Susie Dow said...

For whatever reasons, our government at this time in history is inadequately fulfilling its obligations to contractors and their families once they've been injured, killed, etc. I'm not optimistic for Iraqi contractors.

For readers who may be unaware of it, the Defense Base Act. Contractors have been serving on battlefields for centuries. The US has laws dating back to World War II that are meant to clarify and facilitate authority, responsibility, etc when contractors are injured, killed or missing.

btw, I'm rather fond of television ;)

For Kirk said...

I thought you might be Susie!

For anyone who wants to know more about the state of contractors in the US, Susie's blog (also linked to the left as "The Missing Man - blog on Kirk and Ryan Manelick") is a good place to start. She has also written a superb and deeply researched three-part article for epluribus but unfortunately at the moment the link I was using is broken. Hopefully it will be back up soon and I'll edit this post to include it if possible.

Emily said...

That makes me so very angry. And you are right -- it must be even worse for non-Americans.