From this article today in the New York Times, “Risks of Afghan War Shift From Soldiers to Contractors” by Rod Norland:
“Last year, at least 430 employees of American contractors were reported killed in Afghanistan: 386 working for the Defense Department, 43 for the United States Agency for International Development and one for the State Department, according to data provided by the American Embassy in Kabul and publicly available in part from theUnited States Department of Labor.” Feb.12.2012
Unfortunately, sometimes it’s only when stark numbers stare us in the face that we begin to comprehend the gravity of a situation, in this case a war, and the reality that contracted US citizens are dying in numbers greater than their uniformed counterparts.
Should a fallen US citizen, contracted to the US government, killed in a combat zone, be afforded burial with honors in Arlington, alongside their uniformed comrades?
I say, yes.
To a wider extent, I believe it’s time for our Commander-in-Chief and our Congress, to recognize the fallen and wounded contracted US citizens, and extend the recognition to include honors for the fallen and services to the wounded. To ignore this issue is to build upon a resentment that grows by the day with denial.