Oct 6, 2003
New Bridge Strategies, an investment consulting firm, was recently set up by a group of businessmen. The purpose of the new firm? To assist companies that want to do business in Iraq, including those that want to get U.S.-financed reconstruction contracts. Bush currently is seeking over 20 billion dollars for reconstruction in Iraq. In addition, of the almost 4 billion dollars a month the administration is spending on military operations there, up to one-third of this goes to private contractors who provide food, housing and other services for the troops.
What special expertise does New Bridge have to offer to companies wanting to get in on the "Iraq action"? Well, most of these "consultants" know very little about Iraq. However, they do share something very important in common: They all seem to have close ties to President Bush, his family and his administration.
Among the founders of New Bridge Strategies are New Bridge Chairman Joe Allbaugh, a Texas political operative who was Bush's campaign manager in 2000 and was then appointed by Bush to be director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency up until this past March. Vice Chairman Edward Rogers was a deputy assistant to the first President Bush and an executive assistant to his White House chief of staff. Board of Directors member Lanny Griffith has been chief operating officer of Barbour Griffith & Rodgers, one of the best-connected Republican lobbying firms in Washington. Before that he was special assistant for intergovernmental affairs to Daddy Bush and later worked as his assistant secretary of education.
To most people, the situation in Iraq today may look like a big, horrible mess. But to businessmen looking to make a buck there, it's looking better and better.