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Revitalization by Crony. Or Not.

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UPDATE:  Mwahaha.  And for a great Monday laugh, take a peek at "My Pet Scapegoat" — C&L has a great Bill Maher clip.

The WaPo has a glimpse into the barely-finished world of Iraqi contracts awarded to Congressional and Bush Administration cronies on a "no bid" and/or "cost plus" basis.  Nice to know that we shortchanged not only our military planning, but also the bulk of the reconstruction efforts that we have undertaken.  In this particular piece of WaPo reporting, we learn that the corporation charged with building 142 hospitals and clinics around Iraq, will barely finish 20 before funds run dry.

In 2005, plans were scaled back to build 142 primary clinics by December of that year, an extended deadline. By December, however, only four had been completed, reconstruction officials said. Two more were finished weeks later. With the money almost all gone, the Corps of Engineers and Parsons reached what both sides described as a negotiated settlement under which Parsons would try to finish 14 more clinics by early April and then leave the project.

The agreement stipulated that the contract was terminated by consensus, not for cause, the Corps and Parsons said.  (RH notes:  Nice of them to allow the company to save face, wasn’t it?)

Both said the Corps had wanted to cancel the contract outright, and McCoy rejected the reasons that Parsons put forward for the slow progress.

"In the time they completed 45 projects, I completed 500 projects," he said. Parsons has a number of other contracts in Baghdad, from oil-facility upgrades to border forts to prisons. "The fact is it is hard, but there are companies over here that are doing it."

Bowen called the outcome "a worst-case scenario. I think it’s an anomaly." He said, however, that U.S. reconstruction overseers overwhelmingly have neglected to keep running track of the remaining costs of each project, leaving it unclear until the end whether the costs are equal to the budget.

"I can’t say this isn’t going to happen again, because we really haven’t gotten a grasp" of the cost of finishing the many pending projects, Bowen said.

For more on Parsons, their political contribution history ($1,403,508 and counting…) and some company information, take a peek here, here, here and here.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

Let’s see:  KBR/Halliburton are ranked #1 in terms of contract value in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Parsons is #2.  (According to CPI.)  And we have paid them exactly how much to maybe complete 20 hospitals out of a reduced requested total of 142?  I swear, does anyone have any real idea how much money we’ve pissed away in uncompleted contracts?  And given that the DoD is hell bent on paying out to contractors (hat tip to Swopa, who has done some exceptional tracking on all of this) who haven’t really done the work they bill for, will there ever be any true accounting of all of this for the American public? 

I’m not holding my breath either…

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com