Attrition: Civilian Support Staff in Iraq


July 10, 2007: Over the last four years, there have been about as many civilian contractors working for the United States in Iraq, as there have been American soldiers. These jobs are mostly filled by non-Americans, who get paid much more than they could earn at home, but less than what U.S. troops get. There is no shortage of applicants for these jobs, despite the danger. The casualty rate for the civilian workers is about half what American troops suffer. In Iraq, so far, about a thousand civilian workers have been killed, and 11,000 wounded. That's compared to 3,600 American troops killed, and about 25,000 wounded. Most of the civilian workers are not Iraqis. The vast majority of these foreign workers return home in one piece, and much wealthier than when they left. Filipinos and Indians comprise the largest national contingents, largely because these two countries have so many English speakers. Because of terrorist threats, Iraqis are reluctant to take many of these jobs. Many of those killed are Iraqis murdered by terrorists while off duty. On the job, one of the most dangerous jobs is as a translator. Because of this, many of the translators are from other countries, including the United States. Many of the security personnel are Americans, and they take heavy casualties.


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