Antiochus: Let me understand what you are saying: There may be very good reasons to not make this a loan, but the Bush administration is too stupid or evil to believe any of those reasons, so this must somehow must be a payoff to Haliburton and/or Bechtel, even though you really don’t know of any way in which making this a grant instead of a loan benefits them.
Is that about it?
If so, you’re wrong. Bush has made the very points grienspace made above - that making this a loan would send a very bad message to the Arab world about America’s motives. You don’t invade a country, then force that country to pay your companies to rebuild it. THAT smacks of crony capitalism, which plays right into the hands of the people you’re trying to defeat.
In addition, Bush is trying to raise money from other countries for reconstruction. How does he make that case if his own country is unwilling to foot the bill? How does he convince France and Russia to forgive their debts if the U.S. is piling on more?
No wacky conspiracy theories about the evil Haliburton connection required here. The Bush administration is right, and the people who want this to be a loan are wrong.