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Military Industrial Complex: Bush and Halliburton


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It is believed by many that the Military Industrial Complex was involved in the assassination of JFK. The reason being that the MIC feared JFK wanted to end the Cold War which would result in a fall in military spending.

The MIC obviously feared the collapse of communism in the late 1980s would have a bad impact on military spending. However, that has not happened.

The U.S. military budget request for Fiscal Year 2005 is $420.7 billion

For Fiscal Year 2004 it was $399.1 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2003 it was $396.1 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2002 it was $343.2 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2001 it was $305 billion. And Congress had increased that budget request to $310 billion.

This was up from approximately $288.8 billion, in 2000.

Compared to the rest of the world, these numbers are indeed staggering.

Consider the following:

The US military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world's.

The US military budget is more than 8 times larger than the Chinese budget, the second largest spender.

The US military budget is more than 29 times as large as the combined spending of the seven “rogue” states (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) who spent $14.4 billion.

It is more than the combined spending of the next twenty three nations.

The United States and its close allies account for some two thirds to three-quarters of all military spending, depending on who you count as close allies (typically NATO countries, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and South Korea)

The seven potential “enemies,” Russia, and China together spend $116.2 billion, 27.6% of the U.S. military budget.

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What is strange about this increased military spending is that it follows the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. In this new era, traditional military threats to the USA are fairly remote. All of their enemies, former enemies and even allies do not pose a military threat to the United States. For a while now, critics of large military spending have pointed out that most likely forms of threat to the United States would be through terrorist actions, rather than conventional warfare, and that the spending is still geared towards Cold War-type scenarios and other such conventional confrontations.

How do politicians convince the American public that they need to spend such large sums on the military? Especially, when this money is being spent on this other rather than on education, health, etc.

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John,

It's the reprehensible partisanship in this country that accounts for an out of control government.

Nobody wants to seem soft on defense, and they all want to bring home the bacon to their states and Congressional Districts where the military money is spent.

This country is going down the tubes with this partisanship. If the CIA wasn't involved in drug smuggling and exercising control of the US government, maybe the US would use that massive military power to eradicate the coca fields in South America and the poppy fields in Asia.

Tony

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Dan Briody has just published a book (The Halliburton Agenda) that explains how the Military Industrial Complex works in 2004.

In 1992 Dick Cheney, head of the US Department of Defence, gave a $3.9m contract (a further $5m was added later) to Kellog Brown & Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton. The contract involved writing a report about how private contractors could help the Pentagon deal with 13 different “hot spots” around the world.

The KBR report remains a classified document. However, the report convinced Cheney to award a umbrella contract to one company to deal with these problems. This contract, which became known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme (Logcap), was of course awarded to KBR. It is an unique contract and is effectively a blank cheque from the government. KBR makes it money from a built in profit percentage. When your profit is a percentage of the cost, the more you spend, the more you make.

KBR’s first task was to go to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. KBR arrived before the US Army. Over the next few months KBR made a profit of $109.7m. In August 1994 KBR made $6.3m in Rwanda. Later that year they received $150m profit from its work in Haiti. KBR made its money from building base camps, supplying troops with food and water, fuel and munitions, cleaning latrines and washing clothes.

The contract came up for renewal in 1997. By this time Cheney had been appointed as CEO of Halliburton. The Clinton administration gave the contract to Dyncorp. The contract came to an end in 2001. Cheney was now back in power and KBR won back the Logcap contract. This time it was granted for ten years. The beauty of this contract is that it does not matter where the US armed forces are in action, the KBR makes money from its activities. However, the longer the troops stay, the more money it makes.

KBR is now busy in Iraq (it also built the detention cells in Guantanamo Bay). What is more Halliburton was given the contract for restoring the Iraqi oil infrastructure (no competitive bid took place).

Cheney sold his stock options in Halliburton for $30m when he became vice president. He claimed he had got rid of all his financial interests in Halliburton. However, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) discovered that he has been receiving yearly sums from Halliburton: $205,298 (2001), $162,392 (2002), etc. They also found he still holds 433,333 unexercised stock options in Halliburton.

My question is: “What does the American public think of this situation?”

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  • 1 year later...

The figures John mentions are absolutely staggering. Cheney et al having hands in the cookie jar would be less of a surprise!

This level of 'investment' in arms/defence should be a cause for concern for every US citizen. Not only is the potential corruption an issue.

As Britain found to its cost in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, overcommitment to one (or a handful) of industries is likely to lead to economic difficulties. It begins with balance of payments problems, because the country has to import increasing amounts of newer or different technology and exports fall foul of competitors' strengths and developments. It ends with prolonged economic hardship (long term unemployment, underinvestment in social spending) that restructuring brings. It will not have escaped many that Britain has never really recovered from the difficulties that became most apparent in the years after WW1.

The continued focus of investment (because that's where the best returns are) will deprive other areas of the US economy of investment, and leave the way open for others (Japan, China to name to most obvious in the short term) to replace US manufacturers. It is true that other 'western' countries are travelling a similar path, with likely similar consequences.

Solutions that have worked in the recent past are to loan money (let's call it aid) and tie strings to it (in return: interest and defence contracts). It can be of little coincidence that following the victory in Iraq (sic) there were some in US circles who were most keen to secure contracts for US companies. It's not just about jobs and profits for friends and backers, but also about supporting the overall US economy.

Ed

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My question is: “What does the American public think of this situation?”

I think the answer to your question is simple: The American public doesn't think, at least not about such issues. They think about their personal activities, what's on TV, etc., and accept what they're told about current affairs by the corporate media, which is only what corporate America wants them to hear. (It's no coincidence that ABC News is owned by Walt Disney. It's all part of Fantasyland.)

Allen Dulles was also correct that the American public doesn't read. I was in Books a Million the other day and noticed three or four new books on the Bush regime. These books have come out in a steady stream. (The Books a Million outlet in Gainesville actually had them in the true crime section. I guess some store worker was trying to be cute, honest, or both.) The one new title I remember is "Cruel and Unusual." But who reads these books? I doubt that the publishers get their money back.

On military spending, I don't think you included the 3 trillion dollars that have gone "missing" over the last few years in the Pentagon. They simply don't know where it went. At least that's what they say. Rumsfeld said he'll try to make sure that this doesn't happen again. Do you think those trillions simply got lost? Isn't it more likely that they went into the most gigantic slush fund in the history of the world past, present, or future, for research and development, shock and awe, covert ops, or whatever they feel like spending it on? There was probably a time in America when this would be a real scandal, but such a day is long gone.

Ron

Edited by Ron Ecker
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The figures John mentions are absolutely staggering. Cheney et al having hands in the cookie jar would be less of a surprise!

This level of 'investment' in arms/defence should be a cause for concern for every US citizen. Not only is the potential corruption an issue.

As Britain found to its cost in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, overcommitment to one (or a handful) of industries is likely to lead to economic difficulties. It begins with balance of payments problems, because the country has to import increasing amounts of newer or different technology and exports fall foul of competitors' strengths and developments. It ends with prolonged economic hardship (long term unemployment, underinvestment in social spending) that restructuring brings. It will not have escaped many that Britain has never really recovered from the difficulties that became most apparent in the years after WW1.

The continued focus of investment (because that's where the best returns are) will deprive other areas of the US economy of investment, and leave the way open for others (Japan, China to name to most obvious in the short term) to replace US manufacturers. It is true that other 'western' countries are travelling a similar path, with likely similar consequences.

Solutions that have worked in the recent past are to loan money (let's call it aid) and tie strings to it (in return: interest and defence contracts). It can be of little coincidence that following the victory in Iraq (sic) there were some in US circles who were most keen to secure contracts for US companies. It's not just about jobs and profits for friends and backers, but also about supporting the overall US economy. 

Ed

Good points, Ed. The securing of lucrative rebuilding contracts in Iraq is seen as a form of payoff for the backers of the invasion. The military knocks 'em down, we rebuild 'em. The US taxpayer foots the bill.

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The problem for the US in the case of Iraq is that the companies which intended to establish there now find they can't, due to the suicide bombers who will target the employees of such companies immediately. Hence, one of the primary reasons for the invasion has been rendered redundant. Add to this the fact that Iraq is sending America broke, causing the redirection of funds and people from that other stunning global initiative--the war on drugs--towards the lost cause in Iraq. I think George Bush will pull out of Iraq before Christmas.

Just speculation, of course.

For more on the redirection of funds by a desperate administration, see here;

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v05.n1196.a10.html

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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The problem for the US in the case of Iraq is that the companies which intended to establish there now find they can't, due to the suicide bombers who will target the employees of such companies immediately. Hence, one of the primary reasons for the invasion has been rendered redundant. Add to this the fact that Iraq is sending America broke, causing the redirection of funds and people from that other stunning global initiative--the war on drugs--towards the lost cause in Iraq. I think George Bush will pull out of Iraq before Christmas.

Add to this the increase in oil prices (the main reason that the Rupert Murdoch empire supported the invasion was the belief that it would bring down oil prices and stimulate the economy) and Bush does indeed have serious problems. Further evidence of global warming has also made his relationship with the oil industry more difficult. However, I cannot see how he can withdraw from Iraq (even loyalists like Tim will have difficulty with this one). What he might do is to hand over the problem to the UN. That will also help Tony Blair with his problems as well. The problem with that option is that any true and fair elections will hand Iraq over to anti-American Muslim fundamentalists. That was the one thing that Bush did not want. However, that is what his actions will eventually achieve. That is the problem with having an American president who has no understanding of foreign affairs. In fact, going my interviews I have seen, I am not sure if he understands anything at all, other than the way to receive large donations from the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

Yes, good points John. I don't think Bush will abandon the bases in Iraq but they will have to leave the cities. The Iraqi leaders trip to Iran means they've no real loyalty to the US, so the presence of US soldiers in the urban centres is going to look increasingly foolish. It might even transpire that the Shiite governments in those countries may unite and form an enlarged Shiite nation. The exact opposite of what America wanted (another stroke of genius, George). This was not a contingency for America when Saddam Hussein, a Sunni moslem, was in power.

I agree they will hand the problem to the UN and I agree with the witty last sentence about GWB. The man's as thick as two short planks, as the wider American public is discovering to their horror. They should applaud Rupert Murdoch for keeping it a secret so long. Great gag, Rupie.

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That is the problem with having an American president who has no understanding of foreign affairs. In fact, going my interviews I have seen, I am not sure if he understands anything at all, other than the way to receive large donations from the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

John,

I think you give Bush way too much credit. You make him sound like he's the president of the United States. Bush doesn't need any understanding of foreign affairs, or any understanding of anything, because he doesn't run the show. He's a puppet of Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the other PNAC operatives now in charge of the government. He's a stooge so incompetent he has to have answers wired into his ear during debates, but with the good fortune of having a public so sheepified that it doesn't care. Bush is not going to pull out of Iraq because there's no way his handlers would let him. They are carrying out their PNAC agenda and are not going to give up just because a lot of people are being slaughtered and maimed in Iraq. They have established the "military presence in the Gulf region" that the PNAC wrote about back before 9/11, rhapsodizing about a "Pax Americana," about "expanding the zones of democratic peace" (their nonsensical term for imperialism) through the "transformation of war." No way are they going to change their minds about it now, because of some unanticipated trouble in Iraq, and pull out. Permanent U.S. bases are being built there, as Bush's fellow Skull and Bonesman Kerry pointed out in one of the 2004 debates, causing everyone to plug their ears even tighter.

Ron

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Public pressure, Ron. That's what will do it. I agree they will maintain the military bases there as they would never voluntarily abandon such a strategic position in the oil fields, but the American public won't wear a casualty list of three a day for long, IMO. Also, even the Government offering a 30-40K sign on isn't beefing up the numbers of people willing to become soldiers and take their chances over there. Despite the American media's attempts to rationalise the war in Iraq, the public will reject it. Remember, although the media spoonfeeds the public the news they want them to hear, there's also a thing called the internet where ideas can be exchanged without the necessity of having to adhere to the corporate imperative. The sponsors of news networks can't influence my opinion, and never will.

Once the US withdraws from all but the military bases, things might get interesting. It's all fertile ground for speculation.

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  • 6 months later...
The problem for the US in the case of Iraq is that the companies which intended to establish there now find they can't, due to the suicide bombers who will target the employees of such companies immediately. Hence, one of the primary reasons for the invasion has been rendered redundant. Add to this the fact that Iraq is sending America broke, causing the redirection of funds and people from that other stunning global initiative--the war on drugs--towards the lost cause in Iraq. I think George Bush will pull out of Iraq before Christmas.

Add to this the increase in oil prices (the main reason that the Rupert Murdoch empire supported the invasion was the belief that it would bring down oil prices and stimulate the economy) and Bush does indeed have serious problems. Further evidence of global warming has also made his relationship with the oil industry more difficult. However, I cannot see how he can withdraw from Iraq (even loyalists like Tim will have difficulty with this one). What he might do is to hand over the problem to the UN. That will also help Tony Blair with his problems as well. The problem with that option is that any true and fair elections will hand Iraq over to anti-American Muslim fundamentalists. That was the one thing that Bush did not want. However, that is what his actions will eventually achieve. That is the problem with having an American president who has no understanding of foreign affairs. In fact, going my interviews I have seen, I am not sure if he understands anything at all, other than the way to receive large donations from the Military Industrial Congressional Complex.

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  • 4 months later...
The tactic employed by the US forces from the start of the Iraq war was to DESTROY THE INFRASTRUCTURE.

Oh, so that explains why Baghdad was leveled with no regard for the civilian populace. Oh wait, it wasn't. Did you object to the targeted bombing of ministerial and communications facilities?

So from day one it was power stations, Government buildings which controlled sewage, health etc which were targeted. Curiously, the oil ministry was left untouched.

How naive are you? If the enemy has power, he has a fighting chance. He has the ability to communicate and transmit propaganda. Every warring nation would target another nation's power source.

The plan called for Halliburton to then step in and rebuild Iraq's devastated infrastructure at ten times the price. Alas, the emergence of suicide bombers put a stop to Halliburton's profit forecasts. What a shame.

Jeez. You seem positively overjoyed that the decapitaters denied Halliburton this "victory."

Yes, it was about money....and oil.

Which explains why gas is so cheap now that we've "stolen" all of their oil. Speaking of outrages, do you have anything to say about the UN "Oil for Food" scandal?

Liberating the people from tyranny? Give me a break. Iraqi's can't even stand in line for a job without risking being killed.

Right. And whose fault is that? Who's chopping off heads and kidnapping journalists and peace activists? Who's blowing up mosques left and right? Who's detonating carbombs in crowded marketplaces? Who's planting IEDs? Who's standing between 50 million Iraqis and representative democracy? Us, or the evil insurgents?

You seem to uncritically accept everything NBC, CBS, Foxnews etc. tells you without searching alternative media for corroboration. You just don't know what the hell's occuring.

Daily Kos? Democratic Underground? Huffington Post?

From memory ( and it sure could be wrong) the no-bid contract was awarded during the Clinton Administration and was still in effect when Bush took office.

And again from memory the contract was awarded after a bid competition...

I recall reading reasoning behind this setyup ws to allow for quick response in times of need. Not sure if thats a great reason....

I'll do a bit of research and see how well my memory is doing in my old age.

I am afraid your memory fails you. This is the story of what is now called the Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme (Logcap).

In 1992 Dick Cheney, head of the US Department of Defence, gave a $3.9m contract (a further $5m was added later) to Kellog Brown & Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton. The contract involved writing a report about how private contractors could help the Pentagon deal with 13 different “hot spots” around the world.

The KBR report remains a classified document. However, the report convinced Cheney to award a umbrella contract to one company to deal with these problems. This contract, which became known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme (Logcap), was of course awarded to KBR. It is an unique contract and is effectively a blank cheque from the government. KBR makes it money from a built in profit percentage. When your profit is a percentage of the cost, the more you spend, the more you make.

KBR’s first task was to go to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. KBR arrived before the US Army. Over the next few months KBR made a profit of $109.7m. In August 1994 KBR made $6.3m in Rwanda. Later that year they received $150m profit from its work in Haiti. KBR made its money from building base camps, supplying troops with food and water, fuel and munitions, cleaning latrines and washing clothes.

The contract came up for renewal in 1997. By this time Cheney had been appointed as CEO of Halliburton. The Clinton administration gave the contract to Dyncorp. The contract came to an end in 2001. Cheney was now back in power and KBR won back the Logcap contract. This time it was granted for ten years. The beauty of this contract is that it does not matter where the US armed forces are in action, the KBR makes money from its activities. However, the longer the troops stay, the more money it makes.

KBR is now busy in Iraq (it also built the detention cells in Guantanamo Bay). What is more Halliburton was given the contract for restoring the Iraqi oil infrastructure (no competitive bid took place).

Cheney sold his stock options in Halliburton for $30m when he became vice president. He claimed he had got rid of all his financial interests in Halliburton. However, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) discovered that he has been receiving yearly sums from Halliburton: $205,298 (2001), $162,392 (2002), etc. They also found he still holds 433,333 unexercised stock options in Halliburton.

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What an interesting spectacle we witness unfolding here daily. We have one Forum member who presumes to know more about current events than all other members combined, and continually screams that we must open up our eyes, as though we refuse to see the truth that lays before us. And yet, it is the screamer who is most resolutely determined to see nothing that might trouble his own preconceptions.

The topic of this thread is the death of Kenneth Lay, the timing of whose demise is cause for suspicion. In the absense of instant prima facie proof positive that Lay's death was the result of natural causes, the first thing any homicide cop would do is consider possible suspects based upon who stood to gain the most from that death. It is a perfectly reasonable and sane working assumption, utilized by police departments around the world. Yet, the very fact that the same questions are raised here is sufficient to reduce our resident screamer to a lather. Oddly, those here who raised the very same fundamental questions that would be among the first posed by police, are assailed as delusional Bush-haters. Apparently, our resident screamer couldn't find a movite for suspicion if it bit him. How bizarre.

From there, this thread has degenerated even further, with remarkable assertions made, all against the evidence rather than in concert with it. To judge by the screamer's posts, it is as though Halliburton is merely a patriotic bunch of chaps who grudgingly accept difficult missions and preposterous profits as part of their thankless business tasks. No mention of no-bid contracts; no mention of Dick Cheney's deferred profits from stock holdings [which the screamer insists do not exist]; no mention of the pattern of Halliburton's over-charging the Pentagon, which has already been established; no mention of the refunding of millions of dollars where that over-charging has come to light; and certainly no mention of the nearly 9 billions dollars [yes, that BILLION with a "b"] of US taxpayers' money that seems to have evaportated in Iraq. Again, the screamer seems incapable of detecting ulterior motives. How bizarre.

As for the insistence that "Islamofascists" are fighting in a "clash of civilizations," it is again remarkable to note that our resident screamer ignores any and all signs of US roles in creating this situation. It is as though US political interference and support for Middle Eastern despots never took place. It is as though the US played no role in creating the House of Saud, overthrowing the Iranian government and installing the brutal Shah, establishing the inhuman regime of Saddam Hussein, grooming the terrorist Osama bin Laden and all those who currently labour as his minions, et al. Among the most effective means of dealing with monsters is not to create them in the first place, a fact that seems to have escaped our resident screamer's notice. But, were he to consider what has led his nation to this sorry state, he would have to consider the motives of the US government in consorting with such human scum in years gone by. That would mean addressing the US government's motives, and, as we've seen repeatedly, assessing "motive" is not his strong suit.

How is it that he cannot grasp this simple fact: the "Islamofascists" he rails against are all - to a man - not just former friends and proxies of the US, but in fact are creations of US foreign policy? One notes that nuance of any sort is lost upon our resident screamer, so let me hasten to add that this was not merely Republican or Democratic foreign policy, but a life-long bipartisan pursuit. Hence, perhaps he will refrain from asserting that my current observation of the costs of former policy blunders cannot simply be dismissed as "Bush-bashing." Without that disingenuous feint, what is left to him? One wonders if he will take the brave option of clearly analyzing the mistakes of the past that have led to today's carnage, or continue to deny that there was any motive for the US to create what has come to pass, and thereby cowardly discount any US responsibility for it.

Our resident screamer has stated clearly that he doesn't intend to be a lamb led to the slaughter. Presumably, the current slaughter suits him just fine, so long as he is not wearing the uniform that will lead to his own death. In that, he has much in common with all the administration members - Bush, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, et al - who were absent without explanation when it was their turn to serve - during the draft years when service was compulsory - but who are now prepared to fight to the last drop of someone else's blood. Beware the braying of patriots unwilling to make a sacrifice, but insistent that others make that ultimate sacrifice on their behalf. They are not mere hypocrites, but murderers who dress themselves and tbeir craven wickedness in the guise of noble causes.

That our resident screamer seems singularly unaware of any of the above might be the result of a rather shoddy educational system, yet others who graduated from the same system don't seem to suffer from this same myopia. Perhaps, then, it is the result of the fast food faux news provided by the "liberal" media he so derides. If so, it might profit our resident screamer to read more than he does, and to seek out media sources less divisively partisan than are his current choice.

Or, perhaps it is the result of being so blindly obedient to the propaganda of one administration, that all else is cavalierly dismissed as being "unpatriotic." If so, our screamer will soon no doubt be kicking in the front doors of other Forum members, executing a warrant that is no longer deemed necessary, to lay charges of "thought crimes" against those who disagree with those whom he so loyally, but foolishly, serves. I'm sure he'll look quite fetching in a smartly tailored brown shirt.

It would all be rather funny, if it weren't so truly, sadly pathetic. For what is the point of having the freedom to choose, the freedom to think, if one doesn't exercise it?

I lock out my competors and charge more money than they do all the time due to personal relationships, power in the marketplace and my professional position. I've earned it. Is that wrong or immoral? Sure this on a slightly smaller level :) but the concept is the same.

To quote myself from a long time ago, when I was a buyer for a wholesaler hard at work trying to get "volume discounts" from our suppliers, "the problem with economic competition is that no one believes in it, least of all capitalists." A successful capitalist, in most cases, is not someone who provides a good or service at a reasonable rate, and outworks his competition, but someone who outmaneuvers or crushes his competition, so that he can have the field to himself and charge an unreasonable rate.

"Greed is good."

Yep, greed IS good. Why should I try to provide my goods and services at a reasonable rate. The main goal of ANY good corporation is to maximize profit. Its my responsibility to my corporation to get the top dollar for our services goods and services. Why setlle for less? Who exactly does that serve?

Since the issue is what Halliburton has provided in return for US taxpayers' dollars, perhaps this isn't a good analogy, Craig. As a taxpayer, you no doubt would hope to see good value for the money expended on your behalf by your government. If you are sanguine about being taken to the cleaners by a corporation that has already had to return monies it had systemically and unethically over-charged your government, so be it. Others may not be quite so content to learn that, literally, billions of their dollars have evaporated with no paper trail, and no way to account for its disbursement.

No doubt, when the US government can no longer continue in deficit mode and taxes are eventually raised to remedy the outstanding arrears, you'll find cause to complain, as will all the others who were gung-ho behind Bush until they realized the cost to themselves.

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I personally dont have a big problem with all of this. Halliburton and its other companies certainly have the skills and the assets to perform these tasks. Someone is going to profit in WAR OR PEACE from government actions. And sure the principals of Halliburton made money but it also flowed downhill to a whole lot of other folks.

As for Cheney, are the yeary sums his pension? Again I've no problem with Cheney making money from his association with Halliburton. I'm a capitalist. I am a business owner. I support the process. I count my lucky stars that I live in a place and time that makes my choice to risk it all and chase my dreams possible. So as long as what Cheney and Halliburton has done is within the law, more power to them. If and when they break the law then punish them...its nothing more than I would expect for myself.

I am also a businessman who has made money out of the capitalist system. I also have the kind of political views that would get me locked up in so called “socialist” dictatorships. I am all in favour of political freedom, however I believe everybody should have this freedom, not just the rich and powerful.

As a result of my income, I pay a lot of money in taxes. I do not object to that. I believe it is important that wealth should be redistributed via the tax system. However, I am very concerned that this money is not wasted, especially on some monopoly contract that has been achieved via bribing the government.

I think we are getting good value for our money. Others may not agree. So be it. In addition as a stockholder of Halliburton I expect the company to use every legal method possible be a profitable as possible. I WANT them to work on the razors edge. If they are required to return monies, it makes me happy because in my book they are doing their job.

I won't complain about a tax increase to reduce debt, if thats how it actually gets used.

Well that explains your position. The issue for you is not about government corruption or getting into an unnecessary war, it is about whether you are getting a good return for your investment. That is why people like you are so keen on governments increasing money on military spending. It probably also explains why conservative extremists are so opposed to spending on social welfare. I suppose it is more difficult to make money out of this type of government spending.

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