The scandals for KBR just keep coming. The former Halliburton subsidiary responsible for the sexual assault of Jamie Leigh Jones and the accidental electrocution of a U.S. soldier is now the subject of a class-action lawsuit for exposing employees to "unsafe water, food, and hazardous fumes" at the largest U.S. installation in Iraq.
According to the Army Times, Joshua Eller, a former technician with the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, said that while he was stationed at Balad Air Force Base in 2006, he experienced skin lesions that spread and became worse, along with debilitating blisters on his feet, vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain.
As former KBR Water Purification Specialist Ben Carter described in this clip from Iraq for Sale and in his Congressional testimony, KBR failed to provide adequate water safety in Iraq, resulting in toxic drinking and bathing water. This war profiteer also failed to manage a medical incinerator properly, instead disposing medical waste and human remains in an open air burn pit. Eller claims that at one point, he saw a wild dog running around the base with a human arm in its mouth that KBR had dumped into the pit. And the grizzly kicker: the suit accuses KBR of using mortuary trucks that "still had traces of body fluids and putrefied remains in them when they were loaded with ice" later served to U.S. troops.
It's high time we hold KBR and Halliburton accountable. Hopefully, President-elect Obama and Congress will support Rep. Jan Schakowsky's bill to phase out private military contractors altogether over the next five years. Until then, I fear these scandals stemming from KBR's blatant disregard for the welfare of our soldiers in Iraq will continue.