by Enver Masud
Sixty-four dollars for lunch, $125,000 for a truck driver; that's just a
small fraction of what our imperial venture in Iraq is costing U.S.
A trusted source, recently on leave from an assignment in Iraq, reports that
he and others working for the U.S. can get their meals in cafeterias being run
for the U.S. occupation forces. "Just show your U.S. issued identification
card, and help yourself to a $64 breakfast, lunch, or dinner," he said.
The high prices for meals is due to their being flown in from Kuwait,
reports our source.
Deliveries by truck from Kuwait may not be much cheaper.
Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist from Alaska, reporting from Iraq,
describes a "convoy of 10 Kuwaiti fuel trucks . . . passes us. They are
escorted by two Humvees. Each truck has a sign on it that says, 'KBR owned
asset'. Another of the trucks pulling a tank of petrol has a sign on it that
says, 'First Kuwaiti Construction Company'."
He's told that "these truck drivers started out making $125,000 per
year. They won't hire Iraqis because they don't trust them."
To put these numbers in perspective, members of the new Iraqi army were
being paid $60 a month by the U.S. last December (CNN,
December 13, 2003). The U.S. settled 176 negligence and wrongful death
claims filed against American soldiers for a total of $106,000 or $600 each.
"The US army estimates that of the $87 billion earmarked this year for the
broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of
that, nearly $30 billion, will be spent on contracts to private companies"
"A report in
1998 by the United Nations Development Programme estimated the annual
cost to achieve universal access to a number of basic social services in all
developing countries: $9 billion would provide water and sanitation for all;
$12 billion would cover reproductive health for all women; $13 billion would
give every person on earth basic health and nutrition; and $6 billion would
provide basic education for all."
The gross national income (GNI) per capita of 64 countries is $735 or less;
that of 54 countries is $736 to $2,935; that of 34 countries is $2,936 to
$9,075 according to the World
Forty-five percent of the world's population of 6.3 billion, or 2.8 billion
human beings, subsists on two dollars or less per day, and 1.1 billion on less
than a dollar per day.
Enver Masud, "An open letter to the people
of Iraq," The Wisdom Fund, April 23, 2003
Enver Masud, "New constitution a pretext
for exploiting Iraq," The Wisdom Fund, September 16, 2003
Ian Traynor, "The Privatization of
War," The Guardian (UK), December 10, 2003
"Who is winning work in
Iraq and Afghanistan?," AME Info, March 2, 2004
Chris Tomlinson, "U.S. Troops 'Living Large' in
Iraq," Associated Press, March 12, 2004
[Earlier this week Judicial Watch released a Pentagon e-mail concerning the
KBR contract award stating: "We anticipate no issue; since action has been
coordinated w VP's office."--"PENTAGON JUSTIFICATION FOR
KBR SOLE SOURCE CONTRACT," Judicial Watch , June 3, 2003]
Walter F. Roche Jr. and Ken Silverstein, "Advocates of War Now Profit From
Iraq's Reconstruction," Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2004
[At least $100 billion already has been spent or is in the pipeline for the
now 16-month-old campaign, . . .
Lawmakers and others have long criticized the snail's pace at which
occupation officials spent more than $18 billion Congress approved for
reconstruction last year. To date only $458 million has been spent--Pauline
Jelinek, "Congress Debates $100 Billion Iraq
Cost," Associated Press, July 23, 2004]
[U.S. civilian authorities in Baghdad failed to keep good track of nearly $1
billion in Iraqi money spent for reconstruction projects and can't produce
records to show whether they got some services and products they paid for,
anew audit concludes.--Matt Kelley, "U.S. Lacks Records for Iraq
Spending," Associated Press, July 29, 2004]
[$15m - Amount of a contract awarded to an American firm to build a cement
factory in Iraq.
$80,000 - Amount an Iraqi firm spent (using Saddam's confiscated funds) to
build the same factory, after delays prevented the American firm from
starting it.--Graydon Carter, "Bush
by numbers: Four years of double standards," Independent, September 3, 2004]
[A common thread runs through these cases and other KBR scandals in Iraq,
from allegations the firm failed to protect employees sexually assaulted by
co-workers to findings that it charged $45 per can of soda--David Jackson
and Jason Grotto, "Inside
the world of war profiteers: From prostitutes to Super bowl tickets,
a federal probe reveals how contractors in Iraq cheated the U.S.,"
Chicago Tribune, February 21, 2008]
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