Monday, December 22, 2003

The Bush Administration and Bechtel, Continuing Decades of Corruption
Thanks to Daily War News!
Bechtel won the government's largest Iraq reconstruction contract, worth about $1 billion, to repair everything from hospitals to the southern port in Umm Qasr. Under the contract from the US Agency for International Development, Bechtel renovated 1,239 schools for a total of about $48 million, about $38,000 per school.
Well, $38,000 in Iraq is a lot, right? Well, let's see how they spend it, since that will make the difference. Don't get your hopes up...
"For that much money, we can build a new school," said Isra Mohammed, one of four regional planning directors in Baghdad. On her desk sat a stack of complaints about the reconstruction work from schools in the area she oversees.
For the price that Bechtel repaired the schools of Iraq, Iraqis could have built all new schools in Iraq? I doubt it, but I bet it's more than half the schools. Well, did it work?
[Christiansen] said materials and salaries for 10 expatriates who oversaw the work of the Iraqi subcontractors accounted for the bulk [of the costs]
Materials and Management, are you surprised that wages weren't a larger part of the equation? I'm not.
[Bechtel Iraq School Overseer] Christiansen ... insisted that the company had carefully chosen the 69 Iraqi subcontracters. "We reviewed their qualifications, which of course were difficult to verify; nevertheless we developed a list of 15-20 companies that competed" for each subcontract, Christiansen said. He also pledged that Bechtel would return to repair problems for up to one year if the company believes it is at fault.[emphasis mine]
Did you notice that? A one year guarantee. Isn't that what you expect with most construction projects? What percentage of their customers and their clients are aware of any "complaint procedure?" What do you think the review process possibly could have consisted of, considering how Bechtel can't have more than a tiny few actual Arabic translators.

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