Thursday, December 11, 2003

oooooooh, spiteful!
It's official: the open, competitive tender is not going to be part of the new Iraq. Protests, of course, from those affected. But Germany, France et al can't be too surprised. After all, part of the reason for opposing war was that it would lead to just this sort of thing, so they won't have been keeping legions of hairy arsed builders on standby.

But then, with his ineffable sense of comic timing, George steps in...

President Bush spoke with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany on Wednesday about his administration's decision to bar firms based in countries that oppose the Iraq war from bidding on contracts for Iraqi reconstruction projects.

Bush called the leaders about "the need to restructure and reduce Iraq's crushing debt load," McCormack said. The talks came as Bush prepared to send former Secretary of State James Baker abroad, probably next week, to jawbone other countries on reducing Iraq's debt.

The president's calls came on a day when the contracting dispute prompted Russia, Iraq's biggest creditor, to threaten to take a harder line on Baghdad's debts.

Solemn liberals are putting this down as a typical example of the chaos surrounding the Bush foreign policy team. Meet the Keystone NeoKons!

I think it has more to do with this, from back in October

Many of the US firms which won lucrative Iraqi reconstruction contracts are major donors to President George W Bush's political campaigns, according to a new report.

The report, by pressure group the Centre for Public Integrity (CPI), claims that most of the contractors gave more money to Mr Bush's 2000 presidential campaign than to any other in the last 10 years.

The report covers 70 companies and individuals who between them have won reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq worth up to $8bn (£4.8bn).

Now, there's $87 billion to spend and an election coming up. Clearly there are friends and donors to be rewarded, but it won't end there. Prosperity must be spread across the land and if some of that prosperity has to be recycled through Iraq, then that's the way it's going to be. Clinton was a spoilsman too, and I don't recall much of the reconstruction budget for Gulf 1 being spent outside the USA.

That's why I think that all of the contracts for Iraq- at least all of the major ones - will go to US companies. Shafting your opponents in public is an excellent way to draw attention away from shafting your allies in private.