The military’s largest contractor is trying to avoid liability for health risks associated with burn pits to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the truth is emerging.
In October a class action suit combining 22 lawsuits from 43 states was filed in US District Court in Maryland against KBR, Halliburton, and other military contractors for damages to health from open air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to plaintiffs’ lawyers the military contracting giant had been paid millions of dollars to safely dispose of waste on bases but negligently burned refuse in open pits, spewing toxins, including known carcinogens, into the air. Last week, KBR sought to dismiss the charges. Their tack was not to deny that they burned lithium batteries, petroleum, asbestos, trucks, cars, paint, plastic, Styrofoam, medical waste including human limbs, and more, as the soldiers have charged, but to challenge their liability for any ensuing problems. According to KBR’s press fact sheet on the suit, the Army, not KBR, decides if a burn pit or an incinerator will be used, where it will be built in relation to living and working facilities, and what it can burn. KBR insists it was and is still just “performing under the direction and control of military commanders in the field.” In short, they were only following orders and the soldiers are going after the wrong guy.
[Read more at Alternet]