Reuters: contractor deaths in Iraq soar

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By Bernd Debusmann

WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – By most counts, the death toll of U.S. soldiers in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stood at 5,157 in the second week of September. Add at least 1,360 private contractors working for the U.S. and the number tops 6,500.

Contractor deaths and injuries (around 30,000 so far) are rarely reported but they highlight the United States’ steadily growing dependence on private enterprise.

It’s a dependence some say has slid into incurable addiction. Contractor ranks in Iraq and Afghanistan have swollen to just under a quarter million. They outnumber U.S. troops in Afghanistan and they almost match uniformed soldiers in Iraq.

The present ratio of about one contractor for every uniformed member of the U.S. armed forces is more than double that of every other major conflict in American history, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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Bob Herbert in NYTimes warns of escalating Afghanistan war

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See recent Bob Herbert column quoting Linda Bilmes on the cost of Afghanistan operations.

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