Sunday, November 13, 2005

Repeating Mistakes of Iraq in New Orleans

Former Senator John Edwards has written a powerful piece on his vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq and why, knowing what he knows now, he would not give that support now. The first sentence of his Washington Post Op-Ed piece is: "I was wrong."

In the course of his piece, Edwards lays out his recommendations for extricating the country from the mess that has resulted from the way the Bush administration took this country into war.

One aspect of the problem Edwards addresses is this:
American contractors who have taken unfair advantage of the turmoil in Iraq need to leave Iraq. If that means Halliburton subsidiary KBR, then KBR should go. Such departures, and the return of the work to Iraqi businesses, would be a real statement about our hopes for the new nation. (Emphasis added)
The Bush administration has brought the same business model to Katrina recovery that it has used with disastrous effect in Iraq, specifically, the use of no-bid contracts for recovery work. In addition to the well-documented wide-spread corruption that has plagued the reconstruction effort in Iraq, the approach has made Iraqis spectators in the process of rebuilding their own country.

Now, look at New Orleans. The no-bid contract rule is once again in effect (must be plug-and-play for the administration). Once again, KBR is a major beneficiary. And, once again, local companies and citizens are forced into the role of bystanders in the process of rebuilding.

Ah, but didn't you read that the contracts were going to be put out for bid? Yes, you did.

But, as has so often proven the case with this administration, the facts don't match up with what's being said.

Here's a story from Friday that makes this clear.

Much has been written nationally about our state's history of corruption and that argument is behind the efforts to treat rebuilding after Katrina as a quasi-occupation of at least part of our state. But, the fact remains that corruption is the core business model of the Bush administration and the Republican leadership in both the Senate and the House, and one need look no further than the so-called rebuilding effort in the wake of these hurricanes as proof.

The no-bid contracts are intact, but aid for small businesses has not yet arrived. Our devastated local governments have been offered loans to help them through this disaster, unlike the grants that were given communities in other states in the wake of other storms.

This is also a key element of the Bush administration's modus operandi: using disaster as a pretense to enrich those who support them politically.


GumboFilé said...

Edwards is simply covering his ass as he postures for another run at the White House. Like most of the rest of both parties, he voted for a war that was clearly unjustified at the time. Anyone with half a brain and half a heart knew better.

David Hays
Grand Coteau

Stephen said...

I think that Edwards is actually being HONEST with America. Too many worry too much about what Polls say and what they THINK people will say. Facts are facts and it is quite clear that the White House cherry picked the reports to provide to the congress and in doing so set them up to have to vote for this "OPTION" of going to war. (Let be clear, this was suppose to be the STICK and the NON EXISTANT STATE DEPARTMENT was to be the carrot).
Good Post Mike...

GumboFilé said...

Edwards is three years late. If he were honest he would admit that his position now, as it was then, is the popular position. If I could figure out in 2002 that this war was wrong, he certainly could have done so, had he wished to do so. The Republicans led the way, and when America needed the Democrats to be the opposition party, they instead rolled over and rubber-stamped this folly. The press was no better. Thank God for the world wide web.

David Hays