If your home is Dubai... or maybe Texas (photo: JC Derr)

If your home is Dubai... or maybe Texas. (photo: JC Derr)

This is change I can believe in. The Army will deny millions of dollars in bonuses to KBR, a division of Halliburton, for contracting work in Iraq that led to deaths:

Congress has denied millions of dollars in bonuses to KBR, the military contractor linked to the death of a local soldier in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth was electrocuted two years ago in a shower in Iraq. He was from Shaler Township. Investigators said he died when an electric water pump malfunctioned. More than a dozen other similar deaths are under investigation.

Byron Dorgan, who has led on this issue for quite a while, released this statement:

“The decision to deny KBR millions in bonuses for its work in 2008 is welcome news, and is a significant change from the Army’s past practice, but the Army clearly needs go much further,” Dorgan said. “Specifically, it needs to review the $34 million bonus and other bonuses it awarded KBR for shoddy work that may have contributed to other electrocution deaths and other serious electrical shocks.”

Dorgan said the Army’s decision “will send a long overdue message to military contractors that they will be held accountable for their performance. But the Army needs to send that message much more powerfully. Not awarding a bonus for widespread sloppy contracting work that killed soldiers is just the beginning, not the end point, of accountability.”

The least we can ask from our government is that they don’t reward incompetence and criminal malpractice from the litany of contractors who have essentially defrauded the people. It’s good news that we’re on the road to that accountability, which is long overdue in Washington.