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Now the contractors are fleeing Iraq

There’s plenty to rebuild, but Contrack isn’t sticking around to do any of it. (Reuters)

Do you blame them? It’s not like they have to drink the Kool-Aid from the Bush admin that everything is A-OK, and stay and get blown to bits. (AFP):

Contrack International Inc. has reportedly become the first major US contractor to pull out of the reconstruction effort in Iraq, adding that high security costs were to blame.

“We reached a point where our costs were getting to be prohibitive,” company president Karim Camel-Toueg told the Los Angeles Times.

Contrack, based in Arlington, Virginia, had won a 325-million-dollar award to rebuild Iraq’s shattered transport system.

US officials said Contrack’s decision to terminate work in Iraq was reached with the US government in November, but had not been publicly disclosed.

Contrack, the leader of a partnership that won one of 12 major reconstruction contracts awarded in 2004, was the largest company to pull out of Iraq to date, the officials told the Times.

But the company’s move would not hamper rebuilding in Iraq, they said, adding that the contract would be put up for rebidding, a process which the newspaper said could take months.

[Bullsh*t detectors on…]

It’s not a terrible loss,” Army Burns, spokesman for the Pentagon’s Iraq Project and Contracting Office, told the Los Angeles Times.

But some analysts thought differently.

“It’s a very bad sign,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a scholar at the Brookings Institution thinktank in Washington. “If this is how other private companies are thinking, it’s a very bad potential warning.”

In the eight months Contrack was under contract in Iraq it was paid about 30 million dollars, mostly for site assessments and design work, company and US officials told the daily.

The Conrack partnership intended to build new roads, bridges and transportation terminals in Iraq, but only managed to refurbish a handful of train depots, company officials said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding