New Internationalist

Iraq, Inc: A Profitable Occupation

April 2005

by Pratap Chatterjee

Amidst the carnage and chaos that is post-invasion Iraq, one area of the economy is booming; that of the private ‘contractors’ hired to manage what the United States says is the reconstruction of the country. Companies such as Halliburton, Bechtel and DynCorp are making vast profits while signally failing to provide adequate services to either their paymasters, the American taxpayers or their putative clients, the Iraqi people.

In this meticulously researched book, Pratap Chatterjee tells a tale of squalid war profiteering and staggering incompetence. This is a world of ‘cost-plus’ contracts, where the contractor is paid expenses plus a guaranteed profit margin, rewarding overspending and encouraging corruption. Padded payrolls, shoddy and incomplete work and phantom convoys of empty trucks are the norm in this looking-glass world of ‘reconstruction’.

While the US corporations, in their heavily guarded enclaves, siphon off billions of dollars, ordinary Iraqis have to live in the real world of shattered infrastructure and non-existent security. The everyday reality of ruined hospitals and schools, rampant unemployment and shortages of power and clean water intensifies popular discontent and provides a flood of volunteers for the ever-growing insurgency. A rigged ‘democracy’ empowered only to sign further contracts with the same profiteers can only exacerbate the situation.

Drawing on interviews with Iraqi administrators, former soldiers and police, as well as an array of corporate whistleblowers, Chatterjee has amassed a powerful case that, by rewarding its big business backers and pursuing a ‘for-profit’ war, the Bush Administration has ensnared itself in an increasingly bloody scenario with no exit strategy. Many would call this brainless neo-colonialism; it certainly isn’t nation-building.

Peter Wittaker

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 377 This column was published in the April 2005 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Never miss another story! Get our FREE fortnightly eNews

Comments on Iraq, Inc: A Profitable Occupation

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Iraq, Inc: A Profitable Occupation Fact File
Product information Seven Stories Press, ISBN 1 583222 667 2
Star rating3

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Books

All Books

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 377

New Internationalist Magazine issue 377
Issue 377

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe