Undersupplied US soldiers forced to steal water in Iraq

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In a statement, KBR said: “We have a proven system that works. Commanders at all levels do their utmost to provide the necessary resources required to sustain the force.”

By David Edwards and John Byrne

You thought the lack of armor-plated Humvees was bad.

US soldiers are now being forced to steal water in Iraq. With supplies tight, and the number of trucks carrying potable water even tighter, troops have resorted to stealing water from civilian contractors. Many have also reportedly suffered from dysentery because they were forced to drink untreated water from Iraqi wells.

The shocking news aired Wednesday on Houston-based CBS affiliate KHOU.

It gets worse…

     Soldiers say the situation has become so dire they were forced to raid the United States’ own airbase in Baghdad for bottled water. They found the water stored in pallets held by civilian contractors, who were supposed to be distributing it.

“It really hit me the day I was with my commander and we’re stealing water,” Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Robey told the station, describing his mission to collect water at the Baghdad International Airport. A second soldier said he’d also stolen water from civilian contractors: “We’d just run out and start grabbing cases of water and start throwing them in the gunner’s hatch,” Private Bryan Hannah quipped.

Soldiers averred that they’d been given two to three liters of water per day by their commanders. But according to the Army’s own field manual, the human body can lose as much as four gallons of water daily in the desert.

Two to three liters isn’t enough, Robey said. “You’ll see guys throw up, you’ll see them pass out.”

Who’s supposed to be maintaining the water supply? At least in some parts of Iraq, it’s the US engineering contractor KBR. KBR is a spinoff of Halliburton, which it separated from in 2007.

In a statement, KBR said: “We have a proven system that works. Commanders at all levels do their utmost to provide the necessary resources required to sustain the force.”

This following video is from KHOU, broadcast May 12, 2009. More details are available here.

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