dinsdag, maart 11, 2003

Post-War Comedy Club

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Bible, Mark 8:36

While our prized national comedian George Bush noted in his nationally televised skit last week that he prays for "peace", the real beneficiaries of this war on Iraq, salivating like rabid dogs at the prospects war, are praying for something more substantative: billions of dollars worth of rebuilding contracts in a post-war Iraq.

USAID quietly sent a detailed "request for proposals" to bid on the contract to at least five domestic construction companies with international operations to bid on the main contract - Bechtel Group, Fluor Corp., Halliburton Co.'s Kellogg Brown & Root, Louis Berger Group, and Parsons Corp.

The plan is laid out in a 13-page document, "Vision for Post-Conflict Iraq," which US International Aid for Development has distributed only to a limited circle in Washington, in addition to a few American companies.

The Bush Administration is already preparing to award a 900 million-dollar contract to begin rebuilding a postwar Iraq, in what would be the largest government reconstruction effort since Americans helped rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II, the Wall Street Journal reported. The funniest part yet is, guess who is funding this rebuilding contract: that's right, YOU. And the other funny part is guess who will reap the profits of it: YOU? Hahaha. No, those poor little defense and construction contractors, already choking with excitement as their eyes fill with visions of billions pouring into their coffers.

And lest you think this war-for-profit scheme is open to the general public to profit from, only a few companies, all of them American, were invited to compete for the contract under a provision of US procurement law that permits expedited bidding in what one official called "urgent circumstances", the report said.

Construction industry executives said the firms are competing fiercely in part because they believe the work could provide an inside track to postwar business opportunities. A significant prize: oil industry contracts.

"It's a sensitive topic, because we still haven't gone to war, but these companies are really in a position to win something out of this geopolitical situation," an industry executive said. Awwww. Poor witto babies have to westle with their consciences for a moment or two before the blood letting commences and the money spigots open. Really. The price of making an honest buck is almost getting to be too much.

Steven Schooner, a George Washington University law professor, said many billions of dollars are at stake. He estimated that $900 million would barely last for six months given the scope of the projects the administration has mapped.

"The most sophisticated firms that come in first and establish goodwill with the locals obviously will reap huge benefits down the road," said Schooner. "These are going to become brand names in Iraq. That's huge."

Hey, and guess what? A company tied to Vice President Dick Cheney has won a Pentagon contract for advice on rebuilding Iraq's oil fields after a possible war.

Well, I'm sure there is no relation to the fact that the company who paid our noble, honest and decent Vice President, $65 million in stock and salary during his five years as CEO, also won a Pentagon contract for rebuilding a country their former CEO has been set on destroying almost since the day he took office. And certainly, the leaders of Haliburton expected nothing in return for giving poor Mister Vice President a retirement package of $34 million. After all, he did quit Halliburton and sold his stock in the company BEFORE joining the Republican presidential ticket with famed comedian and child actor, George W. Bush.

So next time, when super-clown Dubya, the joke-a-minute president, gets all misty eyed and starts waxing poetic on what an evil man Saddam Hussein is, or how innocent George is just upholding his constitutional duties to protect America, or how he prays for "peace", well, just keep in mind how much our good friends in the White House and their good friends, will be stuffing into their own bloody pockets in pursuit of their altruistic aims and be glad that it isn't their money being used. Just yours.

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