Badass local bloggers take on KBR

Carla Axtman

Update: 3:50PM: Debbie Crawford's blog, Ms. Sparky, can be found here. Larry Roberta's blog is Iraq and Back, which you can find here.

The front page of today's Oregonian contained a wonderfully compelling story featuring Debbie Crawford, an incredibly badass blogger from Battle Ground, Washington who has been holding KBR's feet to the fire. Hard.

From the O:

Debbie Crawford was playing with her grandson at her Battle Ground home two years ago when she heard a news report on a Green Beret who died in Baghdad. The water pump in his Army shower was not properly grounded, and when he turned the faucet, a jolt of electricity killed him.

Crawford cried, her worst professional fear realized. She went to her laptop and began to type:

"As a licensed electrician who worked for KBR in Iraq for two years, I find this UNACCEPTABLE!!!! How did this happen? Let me give you my opinion from first-hand experience...."

Five weeks later, after a Senate staffer saw her post, Crawford testified before Congress to poor management and poor workmanship by Kellogg, Brown & Root in Iraq, including subcontracting electrical work to locals not skilled to U.S. standards and failing to check electricians' credentials.

Two years later, the blog she started that 2008 day – is the largest online catalog of news articles, opinion, leaks and lawsuits regarding war contractors. The site has drawn more than 10.8 million page hits since Jan. 1.

Crawford has also included contractors DynCorp, Fluor and Triple Canopy to the list of contractors under her scrutiny.

KBR's negligence has also been documented by Oregon vet Larry Roberta, who was exposed to hexavalent chromium while guarding KBR contractors in Iraq.

Roberts also writes a blog, detailing his frustration with the paper patriots in the Republican party:

Today I am having a horrible migraine..I can barely see out of my left eye, and have it covered up like I am some damn pirate. Having been to the V.A. Hospital, I see the big campaign signs along I-5 for the upcoming elections. Now, my problem is that I have been a registered republican since I was old enough to vote. Now, after being sent off to war by a Republican Presidential Administration I come home with a bunch of problems which I need help with.

Where are the people from the Republican Party? Not one Republican office holder has contacted me, even on a local state level and I am talking about you Kevin Cameron! My Local State Representative (Republican) I have not heard a word from you...neither have my fellow veterans!

We have been helped tremendously by Chip Shields and Suzanne VanOrmand, both are Democrats...and neither from my area. I am beginning to think that if you do not have anything to offer the Republican party in the way of being able to help make them money, then you are not a person they care about. What a sad realization this has become for me. I guess G.O.P. stands not for Grand Old party, but more like Gas Oil Petroleum. It seems like the party that freed the slaves in the 1860's wishes to create another class of slaves by stomping on the back of hard working and hard FIGHTING Americans to make more money for themselves.

Roberta goes on to say that he is now an independent who leans Democratic.

Pity that his own legislator (and the Oregon Republican Party, it seems) has little use for honoring the service of those who served our country in Iraq. It's a whole lot easier to wrap oneself in the flag than to respect what it really stands for.

  • (Show?)

    Carla-Thanks for awesome post and I especially like the "badass blogger" compliment. I would like to add the name of my blog is "Ms Sparky" and is located at

  • (Show?)

    Debbie: Thanks for adding your blog URL. I should have linked to it and I will do so in the post right away.

  • (Show?)

    Carla thanks for posting this story ... immediately upon reading the big O's story, I went a visting to mssparky and found it to be quite informational.

    Debbie you are doing important work ... thanks!

    • (Show?)

      Thanks. I've been invited to chat some more on NPR's Think Out Loud Thursday the 15th at 9am.

      I like radio the best. No cameras no makeup "does my butt make these jeans look big?" issues! :)

connect with blueoregon