Monday, April 08, 2013

Halliburton Spinoff KBR Made $39.5 Billion from the Iraq War

Cheney and Rumsfeld, Image via NPR 
When Dick Cheney and his henchman moved into the White House in 2001, they ignored warnings of Bin Laden determined to attack inside the US. They told terrorist experts to shut up. Cheney was supposed to have meetings on the subject, but didn't. John Ashcroft told agents investigating the possible attacks to get out of his office and not come back with such stuff.

Instead, almost from day one, they were focused on Iraq. The PNAC had famously said they would need a "Pearl Harbor" type event to intervene and rebuild the Middle East into a Freshwater "Free" Market Utopia. And just hours after they got their "event," Donald Rumsfeld was ordering his aides to come up with a plan to attack Iraq.
"Go massive," the notes quote him as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
The twin towers were steaming piles of rubble and body parts. The Pentagon was still smoldering. Rumsfeld knew of intel pointing to Al Qaeda. And what did he do? He ordered plans for an attack on Iraq.

I've spent far too many hours of my life thinking about the reasons that Rummy and Cheney were so obsessed with Iraq. They had grudges. They truly believed their own BS. They wanted to finish what they thought was unfinished business. But after years of contemplating, and thinking that all these reasons played a part, one old standard for political reasoning still stands out: follow the money.

Dick Cheney's Halliburton spinoff, KBR received more money from the Iraq war than any other contractor.
The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg.
 That $39.5 billion to KBR was almost triple what the number two and three highest paid Iraq War contractors got. KBR received over 28% of the $138 billion in taxpayer funds spent on the war. And corruption and profit sucked as much as 60% right into the pockets of the war profiteers.
According to the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the level of corruption by defense contractors may be as high as $60 billion.
Cheney calls Iraq War a success. Image via Crooks and Liars.
Cheney's stock options and deferred salary from Halliburton amounted to direct payments to the warmonger for moving from private business into a government position from which he could send no-bid contracts to the his former company. This gigantic payoff for starting the war might be one of the biggest cons ever conducted on the American taxpayer.

Despite his obvious corruption, disregard for truth, law, and basic human dignity, people still listen to what he says--his opinion is still treated as worthy of attention by a frighteningly large segment of the American public, many of whom also profited from the war.

Taken together, the Iraq war and the housing crash are ample proof that the neo-con and supply side hucksters have figured out that the key to getting away with the largest crimes in human history is to go massive.

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