Just As I Thought

Operation Corporate Contract

Some more nuggets of reality from Molly Ivins (LOVE her) yesterday:

“The Bush administration’s audacious plan to rebuild Iraq envisions a sweeping overhaul of Iraqi society within a year of war’s end, but leaves much of the work to private U.S. companies,” reports the [Wall Street] Journal.

Why didn’t we think of that? Just hire the companies that are in the sweeping societal overhaul business, and we’ll be out of there in a year.

United Nations? Not needed. Non-governmental organizations? Who cares.

We’re putting Iraq up for nation-building by the lowest bidders corporate America can muster. What a dandy plan. The Agency for International Development (USAID) has already invited four groups to bid on a $900 million engineering contract.

You notice they did not put the contract up for open bidding. Competitive bidding requirements were side-stepped under special rules applying to “emergency needs.” According to a spokeswoman, the department preferred to work with firms “with a proven track record.”

That would be your basic Bechtel, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) — a subsidiary of Halliburton — and Parsons Corp., along with the Louis Berger Group and Fluor Corp. bidding as a team.

According to the Journal, these companies made political contributions of a combined $2.8 million between 1999 and 2002, more than two-thirds of it going to Republicans. Bechtel was the largest contributor, with $1.3 million in contributions, the Journal reported.

Molly (REALLY love her) continues:

The U.S. Treasury Department is supposed to help overhaul Iraq’s banking system, and some U.S. government officials will serve as “shadow ministers” to oversee Baghdad’s bureaucracies, reports the Journal.

I have my doubts about this. If John Ashcroft has to run the Iraqi Justice Department as well as his own, how’s he going to find the time to cover up statues and arrest prostitutes in New Orleans?

I hate to rain on the administration’s parade, but we’re not even out of Afghanistan after more than a year, and that’s a much smaller job. In fact, we don’t seem to have control of much in Afghanistan beyond Kabul.

Poor Hamid Karzai was back in Washington last week, looking for money.

Turns out the White House forgot to ask Congress for any new money for his country — oops, short attention span.

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