Friday, November 14, 2003

The Perils of Privatization in Iraq

Great idea: focus the military on what it does best -- fighting. All the rest of the jobs can be contracted out to Bechtel, Haliburton and lots of other smaller civilian government contractors. Right?

One problem. They may not be soldiers or even government employees, but they still get killed:
Unarmed, apolitical and supposedly on missions to help the populace, the thousands of contractors here nonetheless have become targets for those who are angry with the occupation. Nine civilians working for the government have died in attacks here since the war began. Twenty-nine others have been wounded and dozens have had close calls.

As a result, security costs -- guards, armored cars, alarms, barbed wire perimeters, hazard insurance premiums -- are increasing the price of reconstruction projects by at least 2 percent. For Bechtel alone, it has added $50 million to the cost, officials said.
Anyone at OSHA working on this?