Close enough for government work
Michelle Malkin wants nothing but the best for the troops. Okay, maybe not the best…
Over the weekend, the Associated Press ran a fear-mongering story headlined, “Water Makes US Troops in Iraq Sick.” The article made sweeping claims about a DoD inspector general’s report purporting to tie Dick Cheney and KBR/Halliburton to water-borne illnesses.
Alright. Let’s look at some facts that give you the context that the AP alarmists omitted.
There are 59 water production (treatment) sites in Iraq–37 operated by contractors and 22 operated by the US military. The report detailing problems with water monitoring and treatment identified three contractor-operated facilities and two military-operated facilties that did not meet standards.
That’s 5 out of 59.
…and only 3983 dead. USA! USA!
Between October 2004 and May 2005, troops at Camp Ar Ramadi said bathwater was discolored and had an unusual odor. The report said KBR failed to treat the nonpotable water and monitor water quality during the same period.
At Camp Q-West, KBR inappropriately delivered chlorinated wastewater for showers and latrines without informing military preventive medicine officials, the report said. “KBR did not monitor or record the quality of water at point-of-use containers before April 2006, even though the … contract required the company to do so,” the report added.
Medical records for troops at Camp Q-West indicated 38 cases of illnesses commonly attributed to problem water. These include skin abscesses, cellulitis, skin infections and diarrhea. Doctors diagnosed 24 of the cases in January and February 2006, the same period when medical officials warned of a rise in bacterial infections at the base.
In addition, military medical records — tied to no particular base in Iraq — showed 26 cases of food and waterborne diseases, including hepatitis, giardiasis and typhoid fever.
But the DoD inspector general’s report states clearly on page 9:
Although the interview results seemingly corroborate allegations that unsafe water was supplied to U.S forces at Ar Ramadi, the physical observations alone do not delineate water quality.
Water quality standards described in TB MED 577 (1986), Chapter 2, paragraphs 2-2(a) and (b) state that potable water may or may not be palatable. Palatable water is pleasing in appear and taste, is significantly free from color, turbidity, taste and odor, and is cool and aerated. Yet palatable water may not be potable. Thus, the determining factor for the quality level of potable and nonpotable water used for personal hygiene is not based on the visual appearance and odor of the water.
Furthermore, says the soldiers little angel:
And at Camp Q-West, KBR took corrective action after being notified of water problems. Page 11:
On January 20, 2006, the local medical personnel informed MNC-I Preventive Medicine personnel of an increase in bacterial infections, causing preventive medicine to begin testing water at point-of-use storage containers. On February 1, 2006, preventive medicine determined that KBR had used ROWPU wastewater to supply personal hygiene facilities. The discover resulted in KBR superchlorinating the water storage tanks and redirecting the wastewater output lines. In addition, preventive medicine increased its oversight monitoring of water quality at point-of-use storage containers.
These caveats and details somehow didn’t make it into the AP propaganda, either.
KBR/Halliburton seems to employ a lot of women as "spokespersons" (Melissa Norcross, Kathy Mann, Cathy Gist, Jennifer W. Dellinger, Megan Mason, Patrice Mingo, Wendy Hall, Zelma Branch, Katy Eichelberger, and Heather Browne. It’s like The View of spin) to, you know, explain away the fuel overcharges, undocumented workers, meal overcharges, employing their people through off-shore shell corporations to avoid paying taxes and unemployment insurance, the kickbacks, the looting of pension money. And the rape. So I think it’s nice that Michelle is doing some volunteer work for them to help the cause.
Well, someone has to go down to Walter Reed and tell the vets to "sack up"over a little bit of diseased and tainted water.