U.S. construction giant Bechtel National Inc. arrived in Iraq in 2003, on the heels of U.S. troops, with a fat contract awarded by the U.S. Agency for International Development to rebuild the country.
Then in 2004 the company won a second contract, worth a potential $1.8 billion. Wearing white construction helmets labeled "Bechtel," the company's construction supervisors oversaw work on hospitals, schools and bridges, and tried to get the water flowing and the electricity turned on.
A new federal audit released Wednesday, however, found that a big chunk of Bechtel's reconstruction work for USAID, the federal agency that issued the contract, was never achieved on the second contract. Auditors checked the 24 jobs Bechtel was supposed to complete.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19962288/
It's hard to keep up with all the failures in Iraq. But I'm sure Bechtel will be held accountable, right?
"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.
One of the many things that I saw as a really stupid plan for Iraq was the bringing in of American companies to rebuild Iraq. There were plenty of Iraqi construction companies capable of reconstruction, and if we had have employed Iraqi's to rebuild Iraq we might be facing less resistance today. I'm not sure if the American people realize that, prior to our invasion, Iraq was a modern industrialized nation. Yes, years of war and sanctions had weakened their infrastructure, but they still had one of the highest per capita education levels in the region. Now most of the highly educated population has fled the country.