Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Five more civilian contractors die in Iraq

According the the Associated Press, 5 American contractors employed by Blackwater USA have died in a helicopter crash today.

The website Iraq Coalition Casualty Count now brings the total to 153 for American Contractor Casualties in Iraq.

The exact number of civilian contractors in Iraq is difficult to pin down, but they are estimated in the tens of thousands, according to this Washington Post article. Military contractors alone are estimated at around 15,000.

Furthermore, quite a large number have died:

Security and other contractors working in Iraq have been frequent victims of violence. According to a Defense Department report to Congress last month, 166 contractors were killed and 1,005 wounded between May 1, 2003, and Oct. 28, 2004. The most publicized incident came on March 31, 2004, when four employees of Blackwater Security Consulting, a North Carolina-based company, were killed and their bodies dragged through the volatile western city of Fallujah.

For more from this excerpt, read here.

For an in depth analysis of military contractors in Iraq, this piece by Peter W. Singer, posted on Salon.com in April, 2004 and posted on the Brookings Institution website, is a good start.

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