Shoddy electrical work by private contractors is making Iraq an even deadlier place for US troops, reports the New York Times. At least 13 troops have died from electrocution and many more have been injured. Others have perished in electrical fires. The problem is worse than the Pentagon has acknowledged, with 283 fires sparked at military installations in a 6-month period, according to Army documents.
Communications between the Pentagon and contractor KBR reveal officials were aware of a problem but did little to address it before the family of a Green Beret electrocuted in a shower pushed for answers. KBR, overwhelmed by the huge scale of the work, turned over electrical jobs on buildings used by the US military to subcontractors that hired unskilled workers for a few dollars a day.