The repercussions of the war in Iraq are far reaching, transcending not only Iraq’s economy but our own. Last month, the San Francisco based engineering superpower known as Bechtel won the major rebuilding contract for Iraq. This contract, which is massive in size, is worth at least 680 million dollars. Depending on how the reconstruction goes and congresses efforts to support or hinder the company’s funds. The contract outlines a large number of efforts for Bechtel to pursue in Iraq, with the most notable being water supplies, electrical supplies, roads, schools, sewers and hospitals.
The United States government was initially considering as many as six companies for the contract, but Bechtel was awarded the massive and historic bid for Iraq. Andrew Natsois, a representative of the United States Agency for International Development, was the man who chose Bechtel for the current Iraqi project. Natsois has had some experience with the company before, as he gave them the bid to build a massive freeway in a tunnel beneath downtown Boston. This project was nicknamed the “big dig”, and like many of Bechtel’s projects, the cost of the project had ballooned 12.5 billion dollars over budget, and has been dragging on for 18 years.
Andrew Natsois is not the only United States government official with ties to Bechtel. Many people in our current government have had close nit relationships with the company. With a significant number of people from our current administration holding past Bechtel positions. This has led to somewhat extensive criticism for what in reality is probably the best construction company on the face of the Earth.
Although I describe the criticism of Bechtel as being extensive, I wouldn’t call it to be well known. That’s because our current media has chosen not to discuss the Bechtel situation, despite its newsworthiness.
The average American hasn’t even heard of Bechtel, despite the fact that each of us, through our taxes, has probably funded the company in some form or another. Which brings us to our present day discussion. The people paying for the reconstruction in Iraq won’t be Saddam Hussein, or the members of his overthrown party. It won’t France, or Great Britain, or other countries (though they have pledged to give some assistance in the rebuilding of Iraq). It will be the American people who will pay for this, both literally and figuratively.
The majority of this 680 million-dollar contract is going to be funded through congress by the taxpayers. Year after year, our country is going to have to distribute funds to fuel the recovery effort in Iraq through Bechtel, which for the Iraqi people, is probably the best situation available. It is not, however, the best situation for the American people, who will be paying for this project not only with their hard earned tax dollars, but with the future of this country.
The United States is currently experiencing a huge deficit in our economy. While the war in Iraq may help some business’s get back on their feet, it may, in fact, push us deeper and deeper into debt. While Bechtel’s projects are impressive, they have a history of going over-budget and becoming longer than expected endeavors.
Which brings us to the crux of this debate. What are the motives of the US for the war in Iraq? While most people in the world do believe that Saddam Hussein is a threat to society, few believe he should be faced with a preemptive strike by the world’s last remaining superpower. The American people are essentially divided on this issue, with most being happy that Saddam is gone, but unsure of the future of US and of Iraq. Some people in our country even accuse the US government of going to war with Iraq solely for the fat war contract that would be handed to Bechtel. While I don’t believe that this is the one sole reason for going to war with Iraq, I do believe it played some factor.
The War in Iraq has brought both good and bad things to the people of America and Iraq. While the Iraqi people now remain “liberated”, their government is in a state of transition, and thus is a bit chaotic. While our country tries to move on, the American people are trying to distance themselves little by little from the Iraqi situation. Without even knowing it, however, the people of the US are facing the bill of one of the largest reconstruction efforts of all time.