I didn't want to write this post.
Or the ones that will come after really.
For a few months I really thought I would write something quite different, something pretty simple and short and that would be the end of it.
But it's not, and I can't.
And I'm afraid the next few posts are going to be Not Much Fun. It's not going to be horrible or tragic or deeply awful or anything, just complicated and quite possibly dull as all get out. But it's the sort of thing it's hard to be flippant about and, quite honestly, I'm more than a little fed up.
So, you've had fair warning, and if you want to skip the next several posts then by all means feel free.
I am going to be breaking it up though, that's why the several upcoming posts, because to be quite honest I can't imagine anyone wanting to digest the whole thing in one go.
So, some of you might have seen an article here or there lately about AIG (in particular), a company that provides insurance for contractors in Iraq. There was a 20/20 special on it as well - all about how AIG was probably being a little to sharp in their business practices and how they were making it unbelievably difficult for contractors and their families to actually be paid. If you haven't seen the articles and you want to know a bit more you can check here for a collection of links put together by Susie Dow.
There's a mention in the articles about this little act that was passed back in 1941, back when the world was torn to pieces and, apparently, someone realized that eventually they were going to need folks who could put it back together again. It's called the Defense Base Act; an obscure piece of legislation, but American law all the same.
It's all pretty simple really, just a bit of writing that says it would be a really good idea to insure civilians before putting them to work in a war zone. And a note pointing out that as the country is hiring these folks, the country which has passed this particular act, the country should then take responsibility for seeing that things are done properly when someone is injured or killed - or when they go missing.
I mean really, how hard can that be?