Bechtel “cut and runs” or the rats are leaving the Bush sinking ship

Bechtel pulling out after 3 rough years of rebuilding work
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
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Bechtel Corp. went to Iraq three years ago to help rebuild a nation torn by war. Since then, 52 of its people have been killed and much of its work sabotaged as Iraq dissolved into insurgency and sectarian violence.

Now Bechtel is leaving.

The San Francisco engineering company’s last government contract to rebuild power, water and sewage plants across Iraq expired on Tuesday. Some employees remain to finish the paperwork, but essentially, the company’s job is done.

Bechtel’s contracts were part of an enormous U.S. effort to put Iraq back on its feet after decades of wars and sanctions. That rebuilding campaign, once touted as the Marshall Plan of modern times, was supposed to win the hearts of skeptical Iraqis by giving them clean water, dependable power, telephones that worked and modern sanitation. President Bush said he wanted the country’s infrastructure to be the very best in the Middle East.

But Bechtel — which charged into Iraq with American “can-do” fervor — found it tough to keep its engineers and workers alive, much less make progress in piecing Iraq back together.

“Did Iraq come out the way you hoped it would?” asked Cliff Mumm, Bechtel’s president for infrastructure work. “I would say, emphatically, no. And it’s heartbreaking.”

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