Monday, May 17, 2004

Amazingly, it looks like Mr. Bush's War really is creating jobs for Americans -- in Iraq.
Many of the KBR [Kellogg, Brown & Root, subsidiary of Halliburton] recruits, like Petty, are working poor. They are willing to dare the hardship of 12- to 14-hour days seven days a week, and the risk of kidnapping or worse, given the beheading of Nicholas Berg, to bring back $80,000 or $100,000 in a year.

KBR has 24,000 workers in Iraq now, about half of them from the United States. The workers have gone to drive trucks, cook meals, and build and operate base camps as part of a contract with the Army to provide logistical support to the troops. The company has used 51 recruiters and 30 job fairs this year to find people to fill the positions.

And even with the continuing violence, the applications keep coming in, the company says, mostly from southern states or the East Coast. KBR has thousands of r�sum�s on file and is processing 400 to 500 workers a week to go to Iraq.

The April 9 convoy attack changed little, said John Watson, a KBR recruiting supervisor. "For some, it was a reality check and they decided they didn't want to go. We also saw a huge level of patriotism, so it leveled out," he said.

Clifford Dunning, 28, an Army veteran who is now a barge worker from Kentucky and single father of a 2-year-old, headed to Iraq this month to be a logistics coordinator for KBR. The main motivation, he said: "Look, everyone here, it's about the income."

. . . salaries, like those of other Americans working abroad, are tax-free up to $80,000. And the company offers medical insurance coverage for employees and their families, plus $25,000 worth of life insurance, as part of a government requirement covering workplace injuries.
Empire always engages the working class most in a material sense. This time around they're not being drafted into the high-tech professional military which has no use for them, so they get to the colonies via private contractors instead. Plus, when you can't get a decent real wage or health insurance at home, why not head to the colonies to make your fortune?

Hannah Arendt, in her study of imperialism embedded in The Origins of Totalitarianism, observes
another by-product of capitalist production: the human debris that every crisis, following invariably upon each period of industrial growth, eliminated permanently from producing society. . . .

Imperialism, the product of superfluous money and superfluous men
Following in the illustrious footsteps of Cecil Rhodes.


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