March 9, 2008
Government Report Says U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Sickened at Bases With Questionable Water Supplied By Contractor
Article on cnn.com -- Troops sickened at Iraq bases using KBR water, by the Associated Press. The story evokes memories of the Agent Orange class action litigation involving Vietnam Veterans suing for illnesses allegedly caused by exposure to the Agent Orange defoliant sprayed in Vietnam. As with Agent Orange, which settled, any lawsuits by soldiers from Iraq would likely face a vigorous military-contractor defense. Here's an excerpt from the article:
Dozens of U.S. troops in Iraq fell sick at bases using "unmonitored and potentially unsafe" water supplied by the military and a contractor once owned by Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, the Pentagon's internal watchdog says.
A report obtained by The Associated Press said soldiers experienced skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections, diarrhea and other illnesses after using discolored, smelly water for personal hygiene and laundry at five U.S. military sites in Iraq.
The Defense Department's inspector general's report, which could be released as early as Monday, found water quality problems between March 2004 and February 2006 at three sites run by contractor KBR Inc., and between January 2004 and December 2006 at two military-operated locations.
It was impossible to link the dirty water definitively to all the illnesses, according to the report. But it said KBR's water quality "was not maintained in accordance with field water sanitary standards" and the military-run sites "were not performing all required quality control tests."
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