Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bush: CEO Of America

It is getting increasingly difficult to take our government seriously amidst the constant barrage of scandals and leaks but one thing remains consistent--American government never turns its back on the green.
Inspectors recently reviewed multiple facilities throughout Iraq to determine if the buildings were operating at their full capacity. At a recruiting center, sewage was backed up because the holding tanks were on the other side of a concrete barrier wall. At a maternity and pediatric hospital more sewage backups were found. And at one police station razor wire was held down by sand bags and other signs of poor work by contractors was found. A $79,000 generator wasn't being used because no one knew how to use it. And with further information coming to light about poor contracting work, I turn my head toward Halliburton, the single winner in a noncompetitive bid for contracting in Iraq by the U.S. government. Halliburton is known for mismanagement of their operations in Iraq, citing its most well-known: "We now know Halliburton paid $25,000 per month per truck to haul fuel into Iraq and got paid even when those trucks sat idle in Kuwait [due to high-risk security issues]," said a director of the Postconflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Fredrick D. Burton, "For this cost you probably could have flown the fuel in."
Another scandal was in September of 2005 when members of Congress found out that Halliburton was continually feeding spoiled food and contaminated water from the Euphrates River to our troops in Iraq as testified by former KBR (Halliburton subsidiary) employees Rory Mayberry, Ben Carter and Ken May.
And in the monopoly Halliburton holds over contracts in Iraq, it was discovered in October of 2006 by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) that Halliburton was hiding contract details from the public. SIGIR said Halliburton, "marks almost all of the information it provides to the government as...proprietary data." This data marked "proprietary" allows the military to keep this information from the public. The only problem is that that is not allowed to be done after the bidding for contracts is over. As a result of Halliburton gaining and holding onto the only contract for Iraq there have been about $108 million in overcharges. And to drill in the fact that war equals money, Halliburton contracts between 2000 and 2005 increased by over 600 percent.
And who is in charge of Halliburton? Currently, David J. Lesar is the CEO of the company after taking over the reins from none other than Dick Cheney, our current vice president. As found on the Halliburton Watch website, there are many interesting parallels between what Vice President Cheney said and what he did. "We [Halliburton] have not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn't do that," said Cheney. Between 1997 and 2000, while Cheney was still head of Halliburton, his company sold over $73 million in "oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq," as found out by Halliburton Watch.
"And since I left Halliburton to become George Bush's vice president, I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years," said Cheney.
Halliburton Watch reported that, "As vice president, Cheney continues to receive a salary of over $150,000 each year from Halliburton while maintaining 433,333 shares of unexcersised stock options in the company."
While many republicans may consider Halliburton Watch merely a Cheney-bashing website, I stress that the facts speak loudest and should not be overlooked. For those who claim that this war has nothing to do with oil, consider that Halliburton's own description of itself is, "Halliburton adds value through the entire lifecycle of oil and gas reservoirs, starting with exploration and development, moving through production, operations, maintenance, conversion and refining, to infrastructure and abandonment."
Oil has been the backbone of this entire war and if the American people cannot see the parallels between oil profits and the Bush Administration by now then there is no hope.

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