the Dots Between Iraq and America Through Halliburton
By Evelyn Pringle
fully understand Cheney's role in the administration's war
profiteering scheme, all we have to do is follow the money
and connect the dots.
While still in the first Bush administration, Cheney used
his government job to bring billions of dollars in new business
to his future employer.
In 1992, Cheney retained Halliburton to undertake a study
on outsourcing some of the Defense Department's work. That
study resulted in about 2,700 new government contracts, worth
billions to Halliburton. Then after becoming CEO, he used
his connections to double the value of governement contracts
over the next 5 years.
However, Halliburton was also dependent on business with
Iran, Iraq, and Libya. According to Cheney's now famous one-liner,
dealing with regimes under US sanctions was necessary because
"the good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where
there are democratic regimes friendly to the United States."
Along with dealing with members of what Bush calls the Axis
of Evil, Cheney helped Halliburton increase its number of
offshore tax havens from 9 to 44. In just one year (1998-99),
it went from paying $302 million in taxes to getting an $85
In 1992, while still in the last Bush administration, Cheney
and Wolfowitz worked on a new defense policy. The plan called
for a dominant American military to "establish and protect
a new order" that discouraged allies from challenging our
leadership and "deterring potential competitors from even
aspiring to a larger regional or global role." Only public
outcry kept the plan from being implemented.
Five years later in 1997, while Halliburton was doing business
with the Axis of Evil, Cheney helped form PNAC along with
Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Jeb Bush. Its stated
purpose was to ensure America's global dominance through strategic
use of its military.
In January 1998, PNAC asked Clinton to "undertake military
action" and remove Saddam from power. This happened more than
10 months before the UN inspectors left Iraq. When Clinton
hadn't taken action five months later, they sent a letter
to Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, and cited even more info
about how dangerous Saddam was. They said: "we should establish
and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region,
and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests
in the Gulf - and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from
power." The question is, why would these guys want to declare
war on Iraq, and then list regime change third in the list
"if necessary"? Where did they rate getting rid of WMDs on
So here we have Cheney, CEO of a company deeply embedded
in the oil and defense department industries, urging Clinton,
Gingrich and Lott to wage war against Iraq, owner of the world's
second largest oil reserve, in the absence of a direct threat,
when the company he runs would benefit financially from every
aspect of the war. How could there be a greater conflict of
interest than this?
When Bush and Cheney moved into the White House, the war
profiteering plan moved ahead in leaps and bounds. The story
they tell is that Halliburton was awarded no-bid contracts
because it was the best company for the job. And besides,
Cheney couldn't benefit from the contract. He didn't have
anything to do with Halliburton anymore. I heard Cheney tell
Tim Russert on Meet the Press: "I've severed all my ties with
the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have
no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't
had, now, for over three years."
Then a funny thing happened. Records started popping up
in the media that showed Cheney still received deferred compensation
and owned 433,000 stock options. The Congressional Research
Service says stock options and deferred salary "are among
those benefits described as 'retained ties' or 'linkages'
to one's former employer."
And here's another thing: I need somebody to explain why,
if Cheney is so sure that there's no conflict of interest
involving his past employment with Halliburton, does his White
House bio make no mention whatsoever of what he up to between
1993 and 2000? Big-time CEO of a billion-dollar company and
he doesn't even list it on his resume? I'm sure its just an
oversight, right? I guess he forgot about that thirty-some
million dollar retirement package he walked away with after
only five years of service to the company.
But not to worry - last fall, Cheney as much as swore that
he had no involvement in awarding defense contracts to Halliburton.
He must like Russert because he always explains himself to
Tim when he appears on Meet the Press. Last fall he specifically
told Tim that, "As vice president, I have absolutely no influence
of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form
of contracts let by the Corps of Engineers or anybody else
in the federal government." Now, that's about the most all
encompassing denial I think I've ever heard. Clear as a bell!
But lo and behold, what does this mean? According to an
article in the LA Times, Cheney's declaration of ignorance
and detachment from the Halliburton contract process no longer
In fact, it says, "Pentagon officials have acknowledged
that a political appointee was behind the controversial decision
to have Halliburton Inc. plan for the postwar recovery of
Iraq's oil sector and had informed Vice President Dick Cheney's
chief of staff before finalizing the deal, a Democratic lawmaker
said Sunday. The decision, overruling the advice of an Army
lawyer, eventually resulted in the awarding of a $7-billion,
no-bid contract to Halliburton, which Cheney ran for five
years before he was nominated for vice president."
I could hardly believe my eyes. Could America's vice-president
be lying? Goodness! Who would have thought?
From day one, I have objected, often and loudly, to my tax
dollars being funneled through Iraq over the bodies of our
dead soldiers back into the coffers of this corrupt administration.
I think it is really sad that it has taken so long, with about
$200 billion wasted, and close to 1000 dead Americans, for
people to finally starting seeing what some of us have known