The article “Halliburton Hears A Who? Political Question Doctrine Developments in the Global War on Terror and Their Impact on Government Contingency Contracting contests legal popular wisdom that the “political question doctrine” means that tort claim cases by military members and U.S. civilians injured in Iraq and Afghanistan must not proceed.
One can easily see why most defense contractors, including private military and security firms working under U.S. government contract, would like to prevent such suits from proceeding. The sheer number of injuries alone gives them reason to want to avoid possible suits. According to ProPublica as of last September 30 the number of private contractors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan totaled 37,652. Of course, not all those injuries are the result of something done wrong. But even a small fraction of them would entail considerable legal costs for a contractor so it is easy to understand why they would want to preventing such suits from being filed in the first place.
As I am not a lawyer the following is derived from Maj. Carter’s article.
Traditionally, the reason given for this is that such cases may involve “political questions” that the Judicial Branch is ill‐equipped to decide. Thus defense contractor advocates claim these actions must be dismissed, else there be grim consequences for Government contingency contracting.
But according to Maj. Carter, “the recent developments in political question doctrine case law are significant to the future of Government contingency contracting. However, they are not catastrophic — although portrayed as such by some defense contractor advocates. There will not be an explosion of contracting costs passed on to the Government. There will not be a mass refusal of defense contractors to accept contingency contracts. There will not be chaos on the battlefield. Such predictions are nothing more than “bellowing bungle.”