history of poor planning, mismanagement, cost
over-runs, and environmental destruction lands
Bechtel Corporation a sweetheart deal in Iraq
-- and American taxpayers pick up the tab!
few weeks ago, I watched an ABC Nightline
interview with Andrew Natsios, head of the
US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The thing I remember most about that interview
was how he kept repeating that the cost to
the American people for rebuilding Iraq would
be no more than $1.7 billion.
that President Bush is asking for another
$87 billion to rebuild Iraq; I did a little
investigating. It seems that during 2000-2001,
Mr. Natsios was the director of Boston's "Big
Dig" project, the biggest boondoggle in American
history; and guess who the prime contractor
was -- Bechtel Corporation, who was just awarded
the largest reconstruction contract in Iraq
by none other than Mr. Natsios' USAID.
bid was the lowest among the few companies
that got an invitation to bid in the Bush
Administration's secret bidding process, and
Mr. Natsios seemed delighted that Bechtel
got the contract because they are so good
at what they do. After a couple of years at
the Big Dig, I think he should know better.
its nearly 20-year history, the cost of [Boston's
"Big Dig"] has ballooned from $2.5 billion
to $15 billion. The state government is investigating
whether Bechtel is responsible for mistakes
that total more than $1 billion. --LA Times,
cost overruns affected every single community
in Massachusetts, every single taxpayer. .
. . The state was clearly outsmarted and outgunned
by Bechtel." --Massachusetts state senator
Mark C. Montigny, 2/11/03
delay cost Bechtel nothing. In fact, as with
all the other overruns, it only added to the
company's profit. While taxpayers covered
the $128 million in overruns, Bechtel took
home an additional $3.7 million for its extra
time." --Boston Globe, 2/9/03
would appear that [Bechtel] has been paid
nearly $2 billion to simply monitor these
design contracts, process payments and pass
documents through to the Turnpike Authority.
For $2 billion, the Commonwealth expected
[the company] to do more than shuffle paper."
--Massachusetts State Inspector General Gregory
Big Dig: Guaranteed profits with limited liability,
little or no oversight of planning or management,
where mistakes and delays mean increased profits.
You won't find a better deal than that --
unless you have some inside connections that
can get you on the gravy train in Iraq.
April 17, Bechtel received one of the first
and largest of the rebuilding contracts in
Iraq. Worth $680 million over 18 months...The
contract was granted in backroom deals without
open and transparent bidding processes and
the content remains hidden behind a veil of
secrecy." --CorpWatch, Global Exchange, Public
Citizen, Collaborative Report, 6/5/03
officials recently decided that Bechtel requires
the additional $ 350 million 'to maintain
momentum in high-priority infrastructure projects'...
U.S. officials and Bechtel assessment teams
now estimate Iraqi reconstruction will cost
at least $16 billion and likely much more.
L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. official in Iraq,
has said that the costs of rebuilding Iraq
and revitalizing its economy could top $100
billion." --Dow Jones Newswires, 08/28/03
of these costs will initially be paid by American
taxpayers, who will also pay for the bombs
used to destroy Iraqi infrastructure in the
first place. The rest of the burden will fall
on the Iraqi people, as the US loots the country's
oil resources to pay off the huge corporate
contracts." --Joseph Kay, 4/29/03, World Socialist
and privatization go hand in hand. As people
learned the hard way in Bolivia and around
the world, when Bechtel comes to town, you
can expect costs to soar and accountability
and local control to evaporate."
Beck, Public Citizen office
has demonstrated brazen moral corruption by
first contributing to the development of Iraq's
weapons, then pushing for a war against Iraq,
and finally profiting from the tragedy and
destruction wrought by that war." --Andrea
Buffa, Global Exchange
board members and employees with advisory
positions to the Bush Administration helped
ensure that Bechtel would receive one of the
most lucrative contracts for rebuilding what
they had helped to destroy." --CorpWatch,
Global Exchange, Public Citizen, Collaborative
report, Bechtel: Profiting from Destruction]
documents a track record by Bechtel of environmental
destruction, disregard for human rights and
financial mismanagement of projects that has
affected communities all over the world and
does not bode well for the people of Iraq."
CEOs now run our government, it should not
surprise anyone that Operation Iraqi Freedom
is managed just like any other Bechtel project,
complete with poor planning, mismanagement,
cost over-runs, and no oversight. Corporate
profits are guaranteed, so the more they waste,
the more money they make. No one loses except
our troops, the Iraqi people and American
Youther is an Instructor in the Department
of Physiology at Southern Illinois University
in Carbondale, IL.
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