Iraq contractor deaths counted in digits

Revealed: two more US contractors were killed in Iraq. Their bodies discovered after they had been captured last year. The FBI has asked the families not to comment publicly. Plus, this latest report came with more gruesome detail than Americans are accustomed. Something about severed fingers.

Family members blabbing would certainly mar the news blackout under which our contractor mercenaries are concealed. Americans are told nothing about private warrior activities or casualties. Only by researching the number of US life insurance claims filed, listing Iraq as the place of death, was the Boston Globe able to tally 1,123 deaths in the Iraq private sector.

Though the condition of the two bodies are not being revealed, one of the bodies had been alive recently enough to provide a finger which his captors sent to expedite negotiations. Enclosed with it were fingers from three other captive contractors, whose bodies have not yet turned up. Perhaps the fingers were the proof our investigators asked for, that the captors held who they say they held, and that their captives were still alive.

Separating combatants from their fingers has a long precedent in war, in particular the index and middle finger, aka trigger fingers. This ensured that if your captive was released, he would no longer be able to wield a rifle against you.

Except for today’s report, severed fingers in Iraq hadn’t made the news. We don’t know, for example, which finger, or if this had been the first for Crescent Security Group Guard Paul Johnson-Reuben. Only FBI agents would know if hostage fingers arrive on a monthly basis, as a reminder or status check on the lives being negotiated. Do ten digits mark a captive’s expiration date?

Isn’t it interesting that the FBI is handling the case? Why not the CIA, nor INTERPOL, who handle international crimes, instead of our domestic investigators? To me this suggests something about the international jurisdiction of sovereign Iraq.

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