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Time for the Buck to Stop
February 19, 2004
By Sheila Samples, Axis of Logic

Bullhorn politics.
Flaming world, smoke spewing souls.
Spies and lies. Oh, My!

Dick Cheney knows it's just a matter of time until the buck stops.

His penchant for secrecy borders on the schizophrenic. People who surround him are so terrified of leaks, they don't even talk to each other. It's easy to imagine them scurrying through the White House halls, hugging the shadows - wide eyed with fear - looking for new hidey-holes to stuff incriminating papers, files, memos, and tapes that comprise the burgeoning and ever-so-uncontrollable paper trail.

They can hear his furtive shuffling, his enraged snarls, coming from the bowels of the shadowy bunker where he prowls - world dominion within his sight and almost within his grasp. He is struggling to maintain order, to plug the holes in the political dike and to drag everything back into the murky darkness. But with just nine months to go before the 2004 presidential election, things are going horribly wrong. And time is running out.

This administration embarked on a course of disaster from the day Cheney selected himself as vice president. Its various factions are incompatible in almost every way - most of them bound together only by a lust for war and power, and a total disregard for human suffering.

The New World Order guys rightly think Cheney is one of them. He is a charter member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), and possesses the same maniacial obsession to gain control of the world and all its resources.

The rabid, far-right, Bible thumping Armageddonists, led by the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, went into throes of rapture at the coronation of George W. Bush, their little born-again puppet who couldn't find his ass with a road map in one hand and a compass in the other. But that doesn't matter. With Cheney giving Bush "gravitas," and God as Bush's co-pilot, the opportunity to nudge Biblical prophesy back on track and headed in the final direction has been dumped in their laps.

True Republican "believers," although not warmongers, are eager to pay the price - in the blood of their own citizens - for a chance to get their hands on the US Constitution, to rework it into a national chastity belt, and to protect America's children from conception to birth. After that, in our new American world order, it's every kid for himself.

This amazing rag-tag gang of zealots clutch their kalideoscopic agendae and place their entire trust in Cheney. Cheney advocates their own Straussian belief - "those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality and that there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior." Cheney is one of us, they whisper among themselves. It must be so because, unfettered by any sense of morality and wearing the mantle of executive privilege, Cheney rules in secret, not just above - but outside - Constitutional law.

Unfortunately for Cheney, millions of Americans do not see themselves as "inferior." They have a tendency to get really cranky when a bunch of unelected bozos they kicked out of power years ago sneak back in and try to rule them. Millions more are beginning to realize that both Bush and Cheney and those with whom they so lavishly divide the nation's spoils are brutishly unconcerned about humanity. Right or wrong means nothing to them - only black and white.

Americans care about the thousands of souls that have gone up in smoke; they care about the daily maiming and slaughtering of both Iraqi and US citizens. Americans are beginning to realize that the slain, as well as countless others who will surely die in Bush and Cheney's expanding war on terror, are nothing more than flesh-and-blood entries on a Halliburton profit-and-loss spreadsheet.

What is the first word to pop into your mind upon hearing "Halliburton"? Yeah. Me too. From deep within the shadows and in treasonous secrecy, Cheney rules two empires - the US Government, acquired in a hostile takeover, and Halliburton. Long ago, in a more pastoral world, Cheney began laying plans for pillaging the world's treasures. As Secretary of Defense during the first Bush administration, he allowed Halliburton to draw up a plan for how a private company (not Halliburton, of course) might provide military support to US troops anywhere in the world.

This plan, written by Halliburton for Halliburton and its subsidiaries such as Kellog Brown & Root, resulted in no-bid contracts for Halliburton, "cost-plus," (open-ended) contracts for Halliburton and little or no regulation or oversight for Halliburton. It also resulted in Halliburton getting itself a brand new president and chief executive officer - Dick Cheney - who slid effortlessly from the Pentagon into the high-level corporate shadows.

Time is running out. Although most of the US media recoil from using the "H" word and Cheney in the same sentence, British, Australian and French media have no such qualms. These media are reporting that Cheney is the "target of a criminal investigation" for his role in establishing an "occult system of commissions (bribery) during Halliburton's construction of a natural gas complex in Nigeria."

And, a recent segment on CBS' 60 Minutes revealed that while Cheney was Halliburton's CEO, he established "Halliburton Products and Systems" in the Caymon Islands to get around the pesky little law barring US companies from doing business with Iran - a state sponsor of terrorism. An investigation turned up no office and no employees - merely a "mail drop" that forwarded the faux company's mail to Halliburton headquarters in Houston. Seems that Cheney found a loophole in the law that allowed him to provide millions of dollars of oil-field work for Iran by setting up a foreign subsidiary - and by using this offshore mailbox, he helped Halliburton to avoid paying additional millions of US tax dollars.

When is enough, enough? In addition to its billions of dollars of open-ended Iraqi contracts, Halliburton got its hands slapped last week during a Senate Democratic Policy Committee meeting for serving 14,000 meals and charging US taxpayers for 42,000 meals. Halliburton also recently admitted to overcharging the Pentagon (that would be you and me) $61 million for gas imported into Iraq from Kuwait, and two of the corporation's employees were sacked for taking $6 million in kickbacks. Pocket change. As Bush would say with a smirk and a shrug, "So - what's the difference?"

Americans capable of taking a dot in each hand and putting them together without smashing them into their foreheads know that Cheney orchestrated the lies that dragged this nation into war, and they know he did it for corporate profit. Cheney and those around him who are engaged in an Iraqi corporate feeding frenzy are in no way "superior." They are greedy, corporate thugs who are doing irreparable damage, not only to the United States and its citizens, but to the whole world.

Americans have a right to know if Halliburton wrote the playbook for the bloody mess we're in - a right to know if Enron wrote the playbook for this nation's energy policy. They have a right to know if the 9/11 attacks, the war with Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq and whoever else is on Bush's "to do" terror list, is outlined in Cheney's secret energy meeting notes that he refuses to relinquish, even under court order.

But, most of all, Americans have a right to know the truth about the lies Bush and Cheney are still out there telling about grave and dangerous threats, mushroom clouds and WMD, the lies that are draining the lifeblood from our democracy and sending our uniformed men and women into the violent, horrible maw of war. Delivering democracy and freedom Hiroshima-style may be profitable for Halliburton and Cheney - but it doesn't seem to be working for the rest of us.

War profiteering is treason. That's why Cheney is in too deep to back out now. He's in a race for time. When he looks back, he'll find to his horror that time has run out, and the buck is gaining on him.

I aim to be there when it stops.


Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer, a former US Army Public Information Officer and Axis of Logic contributing editor.

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