Uncompetitive Halliburton Contracts worth Billions in Iraq
The contracts given last February by the US military to Halliburton for putting out petroleum fires and getting petroleum pumping again after the war were initially worth only a few million dollars, but their worth is now estimated at $3 bn. and it could go to $7 bn., according to AP. The contracts were given to Halliburton because the Defense Department had already awarded it a contract to do such emergency work. That original contract was awarded after competitive bids. Congress is beginning to be up in arms about this way of proceeding. It is one thing to have a program for emergency needs, it is another to let it turn into an uncompetitive award of long-term contracts worth billions. Halliburton subsidiaries also got the contracts for servicing the US military in Iraq–building quonset huts, providing air conditioning and other facilities, etc. The dirty secret here is that many of those subcontractors refused to go to Iraq in spring and summer, because it was dangerous and their civilian employees balked. As a result our brave troops “looked like hobos and lived like pigs,” according to one GI. This fiasco should make the US military completely rethink its reliance on civilian contractors for such services in the immediate aftermath of war.
Meanwhile, it is coming out that Cheney hasn’t cut as many of his ties with Halliburton as had been believed.
With regard to the Iraqi Web Log entry that I shared about exorbitant costs in repairing the Diyala bridge in Baghdad, reader Karen Magoon responded as follows:
“With regard to the above referenced posting leading to another weblog, I
did some (admittedly cursory) internet research after reading the posting.
I am always ready to believe the worst when warranted, but this has all the
earmarks of a wild rumor. A search for “New Diyala Bridge” on Google News
and web search only returns references to the weblog entry you site. I ran
a search on Diyala at Janes.com and came back with nothing relevant. It
seems unlikely to me that an American company would get such a juicy
contract and not show up in the Janes business section.
Finally, since Bechtel was awarded the contract for capital construction, I
went to their site. I searched their subcontract list without specifically
finding the New Diyala Bridge. I did find reference to three bridge
reconstruction subcontracts, all of which are to purportedly Iraqi firms.
Additionally, it seems highly improbable that Bechtel would be willing to
pay a subcontractor for such a job even 1% of $50 million.”
Very truly yours,
Many thanks to Karen for trying to track this story down, and for her judicious judgment in the matter. I guess the ball is in Riverbend’s court.