In a televised interview, pro-American Iraqi President Barham Salih said that his country could no longer rely on the Americans, and so Iraq might re-evaluate its relationship with other powers, including Russia and Iran.
This interview took place shortly before U.S. President Donald Trump announced that a military operation had killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. As he spoke in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, President Salih repeatedly used phrases like “rethink” and “recalibrate” when speaking of Russia and Iran. He also expressed concern over future instability, specifically regarding the Kurdish minority and “ethnic cleansing,” as well as a future war between the U.S. and Iran. “Iraq can’t afford to pick sides in such a war,” he said.
That last danger is the most pressing one according to Salih. Supposedly, Trump reversed course at the last minute regarding a military strike on Iran. If was does come, Iraq would probably be a major battlefield. The U.S. has some 5,000 troops in Iraq, and Iran holds considerable sway over many local militias.
Democracy in Iraq
On most issues, Democrat Woodrow Wilson, who was President during World War I, and Republican George W. Bush were about as far apart as could be. In terms of democracy in foreign countries, however, they held similar beliefs.
Wilson believed that once the Kaiser was gone, Germany would embrace democracy. In the long term, and by long term we mean 70 years, he was right. In the short term, he was very wrong. In 1933, a series of ineffective democratic leaders gave way to Adolf Hitler.
Roughly the same thing happened after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Bush apparently believed that, once strongman Saddam Hussein was gone, the Iraqi people would embrace democracy. So far, that has not happened. True, Barham Salih took office after what seemed to be an orderly and fair election. But his government is almost completely dependent on American largesse. With the remnants of ISIS still active, the country seems to be just a few steps away from the chaos that enveloped it in the mid 2000s.
In the long run, democracy may eventually take root in Iraq. But that day seems to be a long way off.
Contractors and American Military Withdrawal
For the immediate future, it may be up to American military contractors to keep democracy alive in Iraq. Contractors are well-positioned to fight popup groups like Islamic militants.
These operations require a great deal of flexibility. The situation is always incredibly fluid. Contractors can be boots-on-the-ground in as little as a few days. Then, when their mission ends, they muster out and return home. The DoD has no further obligations.
Additionally, anti-insurgency campaigns are sometimes more like police actions. Many soldiers spend more time talking to witnesses and conducting investigations than they do in firefights or other traditional operations. Many servicemembers are not well-suited for this environment. But experienced contractors have been there and done that. They know what to expect and what needs to be done.
When the fighting ends in Iraq, the contractor mission does not end. In many ways, it may be just beginning. The World War I experience also taught us that winning the peace is at least as important as winning the war. Contractors help accomplish that objective. They do more than rebuild dams, public buildings, and other things. They provide security so these projects can be completed. Then, local residents feel that normal life has returned, and that normal life usually means electing your own representatives.
Injury Compensation Available
At any stage of the conflict, contractor injury is likely. Militant groups do not obey the rules of warfare. They may strike at any time, often targeting civilians in the process. Construction injuries are also rather common overseas. Most nations do not have watchdog groups which ensure worker safety. And, even if these organizations are present, they often care little about the welfare of American contractors.
So, the Defense Base Act provides injury compensation. Medical expenses are usually the largest component of the damages awarded. The DBA pays for all reasonably necessary medical bills, including:
- Emergency treatment,
- Follow-up care,
- Physical therapy,
- Medical devices, and
- Prescription drugs.
“Medically necessary” is often the key phrase. DBA insurance companies often interpret this phrase narrowly.
Brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder physical therapy is a good illustration. These kinds of therapy are nothing like broken bone physical therapy. Brain injury therapist must do more than strengthen muscles. They must teach uninjured areas of the brain to assume lost functions.
This process is often very long, and progress often comes in fits and starts. So, many insurance companies try to declare that the victim has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI), so further therapy is not reasonably necessary.
A DBA lawyer advocates for victims in these situations, so the money keeps flowing. That way, the victim can recover and get back to work. That outcome benefits everyone.
Contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen & Frankel, P.A. for more information about DBA procedure.