Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Redistribution of Wealth

It was always amusing to listen to Dick Cheney tell us that Houston-based Halliburton's glorious receipt of those Pentagon no-bid contracts really had nothing to do with him. Really. Hilarity ensued when Cheney insisted that Halliburton's 600% increase in federal contract business since Bush took office was the merest of coincidence. Good times, those.

But now that the no-bid party appears to be over. The debacle that has been Halliburton bilking American taxpayers and mindlessly shitting on US troops seems like it might be coming to an end:
The Army is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton Co. to provide logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide, a decision that could cut deeply into the firm's dominance of government contracting in Iraq.
Ahh, but let's not quickly jump to the conclusion that this is the Army admonishing Halliburton. I get the distinct feeling from Army spokesman, Dave Foster, that if 90% of the Iraq reconstruction money weren't already blown, Halliburton would still be on take:
The Iraq reconstruction is winding down . . . so there is no need for new contracts to replace the existing.
With Iraq reconstruction never having wound up, it is now winding down. Not because the job is done -- it most certainly is not -- but because all those fat bails of US taxpayer supplied currency have vanished. Although there is still work to be done on the Baghdad palace. Now that Halliburton has salted away a few billion without much to show for it in Iraq, I wonder if there will now be a renewed focus on screwing Katrina reconstruction contracts. Nonetheless, it appears that the Army will now genrously confer upon other favoured defense contractors yet more of the fabulous generosity of the US taxpayer.

7 Comments:

Blogger Kel said...

It's unbelievable. They have constructed bugger all apart from an embassy the size of the Vatican and some permanent bases and they're winding down contruction.

That can only mean they've spent all the money!

I'd love to see wwhat the Iraqis really got as a result of this intervention.

And Cheney saying that Haliburton have not profited from any action of his is typical of the way that fat fuck could look you in the face and swear black was white.

He still knows Saddam tried to get yellowcake. He's simply beneath contempt. We don't bother with little things like proof, he simply says it, therefore it is true.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Richard Quick, Millionaire said...

As a major stockholder in Halliburton, I can assure you we are not launching "a renewed focus on screwing Katrina reconstruction contracts." We are far from done in Iraq... our best days are ahead.

Contact me if you are interested in a piece of the action. We are actually buying up war torn real estate, and then collecting "sympathy payments" when they are destroyed by friendly fire... sometimes five or six times per... It's a gas!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Musclemouth said...

Greatly stated. Woot! Two thumbs up for snark.

Two things that come to mind:

1. I wonder what Halliburton actually built? I wonder what Kellogg, Brown, and Root (the construction wing of Halliburton, to my knowledge) actually did in Iraq? What did they build? U.S. military bases, that's one. What about prisons? How about more black sites? And hell, let's just drop the euphemisms for a moment. What about fucking crematoriums? Gas chambers? Mass graves? Will we ever know? Am I going off the deep end here?

2. I heard that HUD is about to glamorously dole out a few million for New Orleans. Wonder what they'll build there? Again with the dropping of the euphemisms, how about internment camps for the Japanese-I-mean-Arabs? Gosh, the possibilities are almost too exciting for words! Ah, the beauty of "reconstruction"!

9:15 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Richard,

Thanks for putting me straight. That sounds like a great sca ... er entrepreneurial endevour!

Best of luck in the best days ahead.

8:39 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Musclemouth,

KBR had its gloms on a number of things, not just "reconstruction" contracts. KBR did overbilling on troop food service, overbilling on gasoline coming from Kuwait, supplying water to US troops contaminated with raw feces, overbilled for fuel hauling by having drivers drive trucks around empty, etc. While doing all this, they also managed to screw the pooch on the oil pipeline crossing the Tigris, which US forces blew up early on. The one thing they apparently did get right was the construction those large military bases we've heard about but whose existence the White House refuses to acknowledge.

Pratap Chatterjee at Corpwatch has a nice little summary of Halliburton's presence in Iraq. Frankly, I think Chatterjee's belief that the Pentagon is "punishing" Halliburton is probably overstated. The Pentagon has been very defensive about this sleezy organisation, even in this post, as I pointed out. Hell, Army dismissed the senior procurement officer, Bunantine Greenhouse, when she appeared before Congress and railed about Halliburton. She was a thorn in the Halliburton's side and the Army booted her. That doesn't sound to me like a Pentagon committed to contract discipline

My own thought is, now that 90% of the money has been shot, the Pentagon -- probably with the agreement of Halliburton -- comes forth with this open bid policy to provide a simulacrum of accountability, long past due, just to create a necessary impression of due diligence. This is a farce, of course, as with most things coming out of this White House.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Musclemouth said...

Mmmm, that's some good dirt. Thanks for that. (Your link actually linked right back to here, this very comments section. Here's the link I think you intended.) The Chatterjee article is rich! The first offense he mentioned - the torching of a number of brand new Mercedes trucks - reminded me of a story I posted about last month called "Torch My Ride for the Troops!" (It's what civilians do to defraud the insurance companies.)

6:38 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Wow, that link mess is weird. Sorry about that. Yes, that was what I intended.

10:35 PM  

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