Colonial Reconstruction of Iraq
April 20, 2003
After destroying Iraq with weeks of all-out bombing and military invasion, in addition to 12 years of economic sanctions, the U.S. has now announced it is starting the "reconstruction" of the country.
Contracts worth billions of dollars for this reconstruction have already been handed out by the U.S. government. On April 17, for example, the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) awarded a contract worth $680 million to the Bechtel Group of San Francisco. A week earlier, the U.S. revealed that Kellog, Brown & Root, a division of Halliburton, was awarded a $7 billion oil construction contract. Six other U.S. companies, including Stevedoring Services of America, have recently been awarded hugh no-bid contracts by the U.S. administration.
According to U.S. officials, the total cost of rebuilding Iraq's oil industry, airports, water and electric-power system, irrigation systems, roads and railroads, hospitals, etc, is expected to reach $100 billion.
Initially, "the American taxpayer will pay the initial contract costs," according to officials, but the U.S. government is also planning to make the Iraqi people pay for the reconstruction of the infrastructure destroyed by the U.S. military.
Revenue from Iraqi oil wells, for example, is expected to pay many of the reconstruction bills. On April 17, officials in Washington revealed that $1.7 billion dollars, money taken from previously frozen Iraqi assets in the U.S., was being flown to Iraq aboard military cargo planes to help pay for reconstruction efforts. The U.S. dollar, officials said, would become the new currency, replacing the Iraqi dinar.
According to the White House, only U.S. corporations will receive reconstruction contracts, and the United Nations will be excluded from playing any role in managing the process.
And the huge contracts are being awarded to corporations with high-level contacts with the White House and to companies that have donated millions to Republican and Democratic party candidates. Bechtel, for example, has a history of ties to the White House and Pentagon. Former U.S. Secretary of State, George Shultz, as well as former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger also served on the Bechtel board. President Bush also recently appointed Bechtel's chief executive, Riley Bechtel, to serve on the President's Export Council. Halliburton was previously run by Vice-President Cheney.
Permanent U.S. Military Bases
Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz has already indicated that the U.S. will directly rule the country for "at least six months." More than 100,000 U.S. troops are expected to "police" Iraq, and on April 19, the New York Times reported that U.S. military officials are planning to setup four permanent military bases throughout Iraq.
In short, U.S. imperialism is going full-steam ahead in carrying out the economic, political, and military annexation of Iraq.