It's easy to forget sometimes – amidst all the lofty talk of geopolitics, of apocalyptic clashes between good and evil, of terror, liberty, security and God – that the war on
Yes, it's once more into the breach with Halliburton, the gargantuan government contractor that still pays Cheney, its former CEO, enormous annual sums in "deferred compensation" and stock options – even while, as "the most powerful vice president in American history," he presides over a White House war council that has steered more than $10 billion in no-bid Iraqi war contracts back to his corporate paymaster. This is rainmaking of monsoon proportions. Indeed, the company's military servicing wing, KBR, announced a second-quarter profit spike of 284 percent last week – a feast of blood and gravy that will send Cheney's stock options soaring into the stratosphere.
But although Halliburton has already entered the American lexicon as a by-word for rampant cronyism – the butt of a thousand late-night TV jokes and water-cooler witticisms – the true extent of its dense and deadly web of graft is only now emerging, most recently in a remarkable public hearing that revealed some of the corporation's standard business practices in Iraq: fraud, extortion, brutality, pilferage, theft – even serving rotten food to American soldiers in the battle zone.
By piecing together bits from the fiercely-suppressed and censored reports of a few honest
One tale is particularly instructive: Halliburton's strenuous efforts to prevent a company hired by the Iraqis, Lloyd-Owen International, from delivering gasoline into the conquered land from
But how is Halliburton able to interfere with the sacred process of free enterprise? Well, it seems that Cheney's firm, a private company, has control over the military checkpoint on the volatile Iraq-Kuwait border, and also has the authority to grant – or withhold – the
In June, Cheney's boys blackmailed LOI into delivering some construction materials to a Halliburton project in the friendly confines of Fallujah: no delivery, no "golden ticket"
Halliburton extended this milk of human kindness to its food services as well. The firm had to bring in Turkish and Filipino guest workers to feed American soldiers, because the happily liberated Iraqis couldn't be trusted not to blow up their benefactors. The Cheneymen treated these coolies as befitted their lowly station: they packed them into tents with sand floors and no beds, and literally fed them scraps from the garbage. When the peons complained, Halliburton sacked the subcontractor, who had been buying bargain produce and meat from the locals, and hired an American crony to ship in food all the way from
All of this criminal katzenjammer – and much, much more – was authorized at the highest levels, as top procurement brass and
For this they have made a holocaust in the desert sands, sacrificing tens of thousands of innocent lives: for cheap, greasy graft, for grubby pilfering, for the personal profit of Richard B. Cheney and the whole pack of Bushist jackals gorging themselves on blood money.