Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Moral Abyss

A young female college student told President Bush, she asked Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld what laws govern American contractors in Iraq. She informed the President that Rumsfeld did not know. Bush laughed and informed the woman he was also clueless. The video shows Bush's willful arrogance.

According to the Jamie Leigh Jones Foundation, 38 American woman have experienced sexual assault and harassment from fellow contractors. Jones told Congress, "Victims of crime perpetrated by employees of taxpayer-funded government contracts in Iraq deserve the same standard of treatment and protection governed by the same laws whether they are working in the U.S. or abroad." The State Department failed to ask the Justice Department to investigate Jones's allegations that she was gang raped. Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice missed Bill Nelson's deadline to respond to allegation of female contractors sexually assaulted. Last year, the Justice Department refused to send a representative to the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the matter. The Bush administration is stonewalling.

The Pentagon has refused to provide Nelson with information on how many rape examinations were performed by military doctors. The Criminal Investigation Command of the Army informed Nelson, 124 sexual assaults have been documented. Contractors fall under the State Department's jurisdiction. The Dep. of State has investigated only four sexual assaults.

Former KBR employee Mary Beth Kineston said, "I felt safer on the convoys with the Army than I ever did working for KBR." Kineston was fired after complaining about being physically groped. "At least if you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the Army and they would come and help you out. But when I complained to KBR, they didn’t do anything. I still have nightmares. They changed my life forever, and they got away with it."

Pamela Jones experienced similar threats.

Pamela Jones, of Texas, a KBR logistics coordinator in Kuwait in 2003 and 2004, was sexually assaulted by a supervisor. “It was known that if you started complaining that you could lose your job,” said Ms. Jones, who added that she reported it to management. “They give you an 800 number to report. But then they shoved it under the rug, and they told me I was a pest.”

Jamie Leigh Jones and Tracy Barker signed employment contracts that do not allow them to file civil suits against their former companies in court.

Jones didn't know much about arbitration when she signed the contract and was shocked to learn what she had done.

"I learned that I had signed away my right to a trial by jury," she said.

Republican Congressman Bill Poe voiced his disapproval of the employment agreements.

"Air things out in a public forum of a courtroom," said Rep. Poe in an earlier interview with ABC News. "That's why we have courts in the United States."

Bush's ignorance and arrogance is dangerous. The President literally considers laws over contractors are laughing matter. Iraq is a dangerous place to work because of the insugency. Bush makes matters worse by allowing a lawless environment for women to work in. The moral abyss America government has become because of the Bushies will take years to change. Why else would the administration make contractor immune from prosecution?

Yesterday, Jamie Leigh Jones testifying before U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

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