Imagine flipping through channels at the end of a long day of work in a foreign country, trying to get to sleep, when you land on a channel that features yourself talking about the problems of international contractors. Surreal does not begin to describe it. That happened to me while I was in South Africa last year. See an excerpt here:
I had forgotten I was interviewed for a documentary about international contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan who are severely harmed by the actions of their companies and the insurance carriers who are legally bound to pay their benefits and not try to make their lives a living hell. I thought the piece had aired in American and around the world and I’d just missed it. I was interviewed for “Forgotten Heroes,” in 2013. It was produced by ARTE television out of Germany and aired in America, France, Germany, Israel and many other countries, but I had no idea it was going to come on late at night in Cape Town, South Africa.
It was an advertisement for the documentary that was going to air some other time on RT, a Russian television channel, but there I was speaking to myself, there in the bed, flipping channels instead of counting sheep. I told clients about it the next day and it got quite a laugh, especially the part of how I almost fell out of bed.
But what should have a lot of officials and citizens staying up at night is the travesty of thousands of contractors – many decorated former military – who have fought alongside our military in the global theaters of war, only to be cast aside as so much fodder for a money making machine. Those empowered with helping them are indifferent to their plight. They are served up a meal of humiliation, frustration, accusations, lies, and often, financial ruin. To suggest that the companies make the Defense Base Act benefits hard to get is an understatement of serious proportions.
The person in the excerpt is a client of the Law Offices of Scott J. Bloch, PA. Hers is a powerful story of how personal these companies and insurance companies make it. It is all too true for many of my clients over the past six years. It ought to be only about money, but for many of these privileged companies making billions off the public monies, it is about personal destruction. It is about playing games with the lives of individuals and their families, about making sure they are worse off than when they entered the DBA system. It is about them flexing their muscle and showing everyone that you cannot stand up to their power. That is not right. That is not what the campaign of America abroad has been or should be about.
We must fight this form of corporate mayhem and greedy arrogance. First, by suing these companies when possible to bring them to justice and change the law. Second, by refusing to give into them. Third, by bringing awareness to the problem and publicizing when the abuse occurs and naming the people involved, as happens on numerous blogs that are being operated by public-minded servants.
Together we can and have made a difference. Together we have to save the shattered lives. Together we have to bring good out of the evil that has been visited on so many.