Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Take a moment to go read this entire piece. You will find it lacks the hysterics of the mainstream media.
The case made against the two long-established and well-respected American corporate giants is based on their links to the Bush administration, to which they made relatively large campaign contributions. Hence, Iraqi reconstruction contracts (US$2-billion plus for Halliburton, $1-billion plus for Bechtel) are alleged to be an example of egregious and corrupt mutual back scratching.

But nowhere have critics indicated exactly how President Bush or his "cronies" might have steered contracts the way of either company. They just keep repeating that that Vice-President Dick Cheney used to run Halliburton.

The main alleged "smoking gun" has been the charge that Halliburton subsidiary KBR overcharged for importing fuel into Iraq from Kuwait. But it has emerged that KBR was forced to deal with a single Kuwaiti supplier. KBR also pointed out that higher prices were justified by transportation dangers (It's also worth noting that the "exorbitant" price charged for Kuwaiti gasoline was similar to that paid by Canadians! But we know who the bandit is there: Just read that little pie chart on the pump).

When KBR located Turkish suppliers who could provide fuel much more cheaply, Pentagon auditors merely multiplied the difference between the Kuwaiti and the Turkish price by the volume of Kuwaiti imports and -- shazam -- you had an alleged US$61-million rip-off...

More significantly, however, the whole notion that the U.S. administration is concerned solely -- or even partly -- with lining the pockets of its corporate "cronies" is both facile and ultimately repulsive.

Emphasis added.

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