Friday, September 28, 2007

Take Our Money and Run: Contractors in Iraq - Bechtel

Bechtel is not a new name to most of us. The construction company has been sucking up taxpayer dollars for many years now. And when one of your former directors happens to be Paul Bremer - well you know your path into Iraq war dollars is going to be smooth and plentiful. But wait, they didn't have to just rely on medal award winning Bremer - nope, old George Schultz, another Bechtel player, just happened to be the Chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (a fav amongst the neo-con crowd).

Bechtel's corporate officers have been doing very well for themselves off of our tax money. Their $1.3 billion contract for reconstruction work has been stalled due to dangers to their workers. I wonder what their excuse is for Iraq's Basra Children's Hospital. You might remember it - both Laura Bush and Condi Rice threw their voices behind the effort to help injured children. After all, who could turn down a chance to help injured children? Maybe the better question is- who could turn down a chance to profit off of them WITHOUT helping?

No surprise, Bechtel stepped up to meet the challenge! The company got a contract worth $50 million to build the hospital. One year later - the cost was over $165 million, Bechtel dropped off the project, and not a single child was being helped. But don't think that Bechtel only ripped us off a little - apparently the company met its objectives on less than 42% of the $1.8 billion in reconstruction contracts they received for Iraq.

From a MSNBC report: Auditors report on Bechtel's work noted that of their contracts, "Ten did not achieve their original objectives," the auditors found. In another three projects, "we were either unable to determine what the original objectives were or the achievements were unclear." The cost to American taxpayers for unfinished efforts was high: the U.S. government approved a total of $180 million dollars in payments for Bechtel’s ten allegedly unfinished projects. They include a $24 million water treatment plant in Baghdad's impoverished Sadr City, a $26 million children's hospital in Basra and a $4 million Baghdad landfill that was never built "The Bechtel audit is emblematic of the reconstruction problems in Iraq," said Stuart Bowen, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, whose office conducted the audit. Mark Tokala, an official at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, characterized the audit's findings of unfinished projects as "a success rate of less than 42 percent."

Kudos to Bechtel for their rip off of the American public. I'm sure your corporate executives had a great time this summer vacationing and getting new homes on our tax dollars. You're welcome.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Web Counter
hit Counter