Recently was reminded of the animosity some people hold toward the contractors in Iraq.
The discussion reached an absolute low a while back when four contractors were brutally killed. Kos decided to remind everyone of his status as the most classless blogger on the internet and declared them “mercenaries” and brushed off their deaths with his infamous “Screw 'em” comment.
Iraq is in no condition to rebuild itself at this point and we certainly can't just walk away. To do so would be to allow Iraq to implode and become the same lawless vacuum that Afghanistan was: A training ground for every bombslinger with a grudge against the west. Just as we helped to rebuild Germany and Japan after WWII because it was in our best interest to do so, we must help rebuild Iraq.
To do so requires big companies with the infrastructure to mount this sort of operation. Unfortunately, there are only so many companies capable of that. If it seems that KBR and Halliburton have something of a monopoly in the rebuilding process, it's because they are among the few companies that can mount and support an operation of this size. Guy down the street runs Joe's Bobcat Service. Nice guy, hard worker, but putting him and his Bobcat on a C-130 to Iraq would accomplish nothing. How does he find a place to sleep, how does he eat, obtain fuel, spare parts...ad infinitum?
Companies are nothing without employees, and now there's a need to increase the number of employees substantially. The positions are most likely temporary, they require an extended period of time away from families in an unpleasant climate and they expose the workers to constant danger from guys who think sawing heads off with penknives is a lot of fun. People don't do this for free.
The contractors in Iraq are making great money, but that's what it takes to convince people to drop everything and take their hard-earned oil pipeline skills, electronic skills, etc. and head for the sandbox.