Friday, September 26, 2003

See Billmon for your one-stop shop for Iraqi contractor horror stories -- White House insiders have stepped outside government to organize a new company set up for the sole purpose of collecting pork. Which seems to exist in remarkable amounts, to judge from a budget with line items like this:

...$100 million to build seven planned communities with a total of 3,258 houses, plus roads, an elementary school, two high schools, a clinic, a place of worship and a market for each; $10 million to finance 100 prison-building experts for six months, at $100,000 an expert; 40 garbage trucks at $50,000 each; $900 million to import petroleum products such as kerosene and diesel to a country with the world's second-largest oil reserves; and $20 million for a four-week business course, at $10,000 per pupil.

And it seems that you don't have to do much after collecting the money either -- Bechtel has the billion dollar contract to restore Iraqi power, but bedraggled Iraqis are doing the work on their own, and Bechtel refuses to even supply spare parts, claiming that's "beyond the scope" of the contract.

Combine this with the "privatization" initiatives that keep being floated -- which amount to selling off Iraqi government assets before there is a legitimate Iraqi government around to even haggle about the price -- and you get a policy which is morally indistinguishable from looting, of both Iraq and the US treasury, at pretty much the same time...


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