Democrats & Liberals Archives

You Can't Play in My Sandbox!

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has ruled that prime contracts to rebuild Iraq will exclude firms from nations that opposed the U.S. war. This means that nations like France and Germany will not be allowed to bid for any of the reconstruction projects.

Wolfowitz’s statement used “national security” as the justification for this policy. However, “Procurement specialist Prof. Steven Schooner from George Washington University said it was ‘disingenuous’ to use national security as an excuse.” This policy seems to be instead to be both retaliatory and coercive, in that countries are forced either to provide support to the coalition or shut their country’s businesses out of the lucrative contracts.

This policy creates a number of problems:

  • Reinforces Occupation Perception -- By monopolizing the granting of contracts based on our best interests rather than those of the Iraqi people, we look like occupiers rather than liberators.
  • Wrongly Punishes Companies -- Companies who could effectively provide the goods or services required are prevented from doing business because of decisions made by the government of the country in which they are based. But how much control do they have and how does one determine country of origin in today's global economy? Wouldn't Jeep be prevented from providing vehicles under this ruling because it's part of Daimler Chrysler?
  • Reinforces belief war started out of greed -- by shutting our many foreign companies, more contracts will go to Halliburton, Bechtel, etc. who are closely connected to Bush and his administration.
  • Boosts Costs -- by limiting competition for contracts or granting them sans bids, this policy will boost the cost to complete the projects, transferring unnecessary taxpayer money to the coffers of big business.
  • Reduce Likelihood of Cooperation/Assistance -- this decision will only further widen the fissure between the U.S and France, Germany, the UN, etc. Once the contracts are awarded, there's less chance of them offering assistance. There needs to be some reward to offset the risk. And the continued monopolization of the rebuilding process by the Bush administration keeps those who could share the burden from wanting to get involved.
Posted by blipsman at December 10, 2003 2:45 PM