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Friday, November 18, 2005

Dick Cheney: War Profiteer

by Tom Turnipseed


Questions persist about Vice-President Cheney’s role in the ongoing investigation and scandal swirling about the White House. His chief of staff and confidante Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. Let’s take a look at some personal incentives for Cheney’s selling war to our country.

Cheney has pursued a political and corporate career to make himself very rich and powerful. He is the personification of a war profiteer who slid through the revolving door connecting the public and private sectors of the defense establishment on two occasions in a career that has served his relentless quest for power and profits.

As Defense Secretary, Mr. Cheney commissioned a study for the U.S. Department of Defense by Brown and Root Services (now Kellogg, Brown and Root), a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton. The study recommended that private firms like Halliburton should take over logistical support programs for U.S. military operations around the world. Just two years after he was Secretary of Defense, Cheney stepped through the revolving door linking the Department of Defense with defense contractors and became CEO of Halliburton. Halliburton was the principal beneficiary of Cheney’s privatization efforts for our military’s logistical support and Cheney was paid $44 million for five year's work with them before he slipped back through the revolving door of war profiteering to become Vice-President of the United States. When asked about the money he received from Halliburton, Cheney said. "I tell you that the government had absolutely nothing to do with it."

The Bush administration has dished out lucrative reconstruction contracts in Iraq to favored U.S. based corporations including Halliburton and denied contracts to many Iraqi and foreign based companies. To the conquerors go the spoils was the message on December 11, 2003 when Bush said, “The taxpayers understand why it makes sense for countries that risk lives to participate in the contracts in Iraq, It's very simple. Our people risk their lives, friendly coalition folks risk their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that.”

Bush’s statement is a stunning admission of how much corrupt corporations control our foreign policy. Under Cheney’s leadership Halliburton out did Enron in using offshore subsidiaries as tax shelters to hide profits to bilk U.S. taxpayers. Halliburton also utilized off-shore subsidiaries to contract for services and sell banned equipment to rogue states like Iran, Iraq and Libya. This would be illegal if done directly by Halliburton.

At last count Halliburton had 58 offshore subsidiaries in Caribbean tax havens. With Cheney at the helm Halliburton’s tax payments to the U.S. went from $302 million in 1998 to zero in 1999, when they also received a refund of $85 million from the Internal Revenue Service.

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Dick Cheney: War Profiteer 

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