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Iraqi resistance causes many American "workers' compensation injuries"

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  • Kevin Walsh
    Before I begin with the article, I would like to address a few misconceptions that have recently appeared on the Arab Nationalist list. First, it should not
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2004
      Before I begin with the article, I would like to address a few
      misconceptions that have recently appeared on the Arab Nationalist
      list. First, it should not be news to anyone that Yassir Arafat is
      a traitor. That should have been clear in 1988 when he denounced the
      armed struggle, and if it wasn't clear then, it should have been
      clear with the signing of the Oslo betrayal in 1993. Second, to
      address a common "Maoist" bit of nonsense (which never came out of
      the mouth of Mao Zedong), the Soviet Union had its flaws, but it was
      never "social-imperialist". Third, the same "Maoist" article claimed
      that the USA "armed Saddam" and that President Hussein's government
      "gassed the Kurds". Iraq only received a small percentage of its
      weapons from the USA, and one would hope people on this list would
      be enlightened enough to know that the "gassing of the Kurds" at
      Halabja was a fabrication. The gas was used by the Iranians, not
      Iraq, and it was used against Iraqi soldiers, not Kurdi civilians.
      Almost all of the Kurdi civilians had been evacuated from Halabja
      prior to the gas attack.

      Getting to the topic at hand, workers' compensation is a payment made
      under United States law to American workers who are injured while at
      work. Evidently attacks by the Iraqi resistance have become a
      significant fraction of these claims, and half the total for U.S.
      government contractors. The following article, attriuted to the
      Associated Press, appeared on page A20 of the Friday, June 18, 2004
      edition of the Arizona Republic.

      --Kevin Walsh


      Washington--Almost half of all injury and death claims filed by
      U.S. government contractors so far this year were for incidents that
      occurred in Iraq.

      The federal government ultimately will spend millions of dollars for
      these workers' compensation payments.

      Federal law requires all U.S. government contractors and subcontractors
      to obtain workers' compensation insurance for civilian employees who
      work overseas. If an injury or death is related to a "war-risk
      hazard," the War Hazards Compensation Act provides for government
      reimbursement to insurance carriers.

      Of the 771 injury claims filed by U.S. contractors so far this year,
      345 occurred in Iraq. Of the 66 deaths reported as of last week, all
      but nine occurred in Iraq, according to the Labor Department, which
      handles the reporting of claims and reimbursements.

      Since January 2003, there have been claims for 476 injuries and 80
      deaths in Iraq.

      Casualties are rising. A convoy of contractors was ambushed Tuesday
      in Baghdad. Two people were killed and three were injured when shots
      were fired from a highway overpass.

      Among the most gruesome deaths were four civilian security personnel
      who were killed March 31 in Fallujah, their bodies mutilated and
      burned. The remains of two were hung from a bridge.

      "The security situation is virtually unprecedented," said Bob
      Hartwig, chief economist with the Insurance Information Institute,
      an industry group. "You've got the potential to be kidnapped, to be
      killed, to be tortured, shot at, blown up."

      Labor Department officials said they had no cost estimate for
      reimbursements of Iraq-related claims, but given the maximum
      payment of $1030.78 per week and the number of injuries and
      deaths, it could well climb into the multimillions.

      The Employees Compensation Fund, which pays war hazard and workers'
      comp for federal employees, is allocated about $2.3 billion annually.

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