Halliburton/KBR is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful corporation I’ve ever known in my life.
Washington Times editor* Robert Stacy McCain defends meek trembling KBR/Halliburton from the greedy advances of Jamie Leigh Jones:
I don’t think she’s doing the lawsuit to get rich. Her lawyer, yes; herself, no. She’ll get hers from the book deal and the movie rights. Excuse my extreme cyncism, but Jamie Leigh Jones’ story has got "NYT bestseller/Oscar-winning movie" written all over it.
Gang rape is a crime, and the perpetrators should be punished, but Halliburton didn’t rape Jamie Leigh Jones.
Halliburton hired Jones, and also apparently hired her rapists, but gang-rape was not any part of Halliburton’s policy. They’re in the engineering services business, not the rape business. They don’t make a profit from rape, and yet somehow are being held financially liable for the criminal conduct of the persons unknown accused of raping Jones.
So, you know, a few bad apples who happen to work for KBR gang-rape Jones, and it all kind of ends there.
Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.
"Don’t plan on working back in Iraq. There won’t be a position here, and there won’t be a position in Houston," Jones says she was told.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave. Jones described the container as sparely furnished with a bed, table and lamp.
"It felt like prison," says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming "20/20" investigation. "I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened."
Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.
"I said, ‘Dad, I’ve been raped. I don’t know what to do. I’m in this container, and I’m not able to leave,’" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.
"We contacted the State Department first," Poe told ABCNews.com, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" — from her American employer.
Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones’ camp, where they rescued her from the container.
According to her lawsuit, Jones was raped by "several attackers who first drugged her, then repeatedly raped and injured her, both physically and emotionally."
Jones told ABCNews.com that an examination by Army doctors showed she had been raped "both vaginally and anally," but that the rape kit disappeared after it was handed over to KBR security officers.
Okay, so it was a whole bushel of bad apples who happened to work for KBR who chose to, if not participate in the rape, cover it up just like any responsible corporate employee would.
The Washington Times newsroom must have a fascinating work atmosphere.
After expressing his deepest sympathies to Jones, McCain rolls out the usual suspect logic:
In other words, it’s like the "hostile environment" aspect of sexual harassment case law, the Catch-22 of equal rights. On the one hand, if KBR had refused to hire a woman for Iraq contractor employment, they’d have been guilty of illegal discrimination. On the other hand, they send a 20-year-old blonde into a male-dominated work environment in the middle of a war zone and she gets raped, and the corporation is held liable for the crime.
Did the board of the directors approve a "boys will be boys" directive for KBR’s Iraq barracks? Which vice-president of KBR signed off on the memeorandum that "created" that "atmosphere"? But the lawyers for Jones know that the jury that hears the case won’t think logically. Instead, the jurors will decide that KBR is rich, and the plaintiff is poor, and something bad happened, therefore the company should shell out millions of dollars — and the tort lawyer will buy himself a new houseboat.
Tort lawyers! Sexual harassment laws made them do it! Working while blond!
The bitch obviously had it coming.
Then, for you statistics freaks, comes this – "the law of large numbers":
Given that such fraternization was permitted, the law of large numbers would suggest that among the thousands of men working for KBR in Iraq, some few would be willing to participate in a gang-rape. (She says she was drugged; claims of being dosed with "date-rape drugs" mysteriously proliferate in the era of Jello shots. Note that Jones was below the legal U.S. drinking age at the time of this incident. Don’t 20-year-olds ever get just plain-old drunk anymore? What did gang-rapists do before the discovery of Rohypnol?)
I assume that the "law of large numbers" must involve more than a lacrosse team but less than a nation. Somewhere in there, give or take.
Finally McCain invokes the McDonalds coffee lawsuit-excuse for opposing legal remedies for corporate irresponsibility:
In its own way, this is a legal abuse as bad as the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit.
During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700
claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds’ knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard.
McDonalds also said during discovery that, based on a consultants advice, it held its coffee at between 180 and 190 degrees fahrenheit to maintain optimum taste. He admitted that he had not evaluated the
safety ramifications at this temperature. Other establishments sell
coffee at substantially lower temperatures, and coffee served at home is
generally 135 to 140 degrees.
Further, McDonalds’ quality assurance manager testified that the company
actively enforces a requirement that coffee be held in the pot at 185
degrees, plus or minus five degrees. He also testified that a burn
hazard exists with any food substance served at 140 degrees or above,
and that McDonalds coffee, at the temperature at which it was poured
into styrofoam cups, was not fit for consumption because it would burn
the mouth and throat. The quality assurance manager admitted that burns
would occur, but testified that McDonalds had no intention of reducing
the "holding temperature" of its coffee.
Plaintiffs’ expert, a scholar in thermodynamics applied to human skin
burns, testified that liquids, at 180 degrees, will cause a full
thickness burn to human skin in two to seven seconds. Other testimony
showed that as the temperature decreases toward 155 degrees, the extent
of the burn relative to that temperature decreases exponentially. Thus,
if Liebeck’s spill had involved coffee at 155 degrees, the liquid would
have cooled and given her time to avoid a serious burn.
McDonalds asserted that customers buy coffee on their way to work or
home, intending to consume it there. However, the company’s own research showed that customers intend to consume the coffee immediately while driving.
Quite frankly I had no idea how much McCain missed Right Wing Howler’s "raunchy cartoons and the infamous "Chick of the Week" feature." For John Stacy, the Jones case must be be like a sweet hit of heroin after so many years without…
*Apparently Mr. McCain resigned from the Washington Times in January. My apologies as well as congratulations to the Times.