Ralph Waldo Emerson once said money often costs too much. Had he bothered to stick around for another hundred years or so, he would see a military-industrial complex that highlights what “too much” actually means.
The term military-industrial complex often makes people think of a conspiracy theorist’s paranoid delusions. That’s understandable, because only a madman would assume that our government would compromise our soldiers’ safety for the sake of a company’s bottom line. Then again, even a broken watch is right twice a day.
Before going into Iraq, the fringe opposition was making plenty of noise about Dick Cheney’s ties to Halliburton. He claimed at the time he had severed all ties and had zero financial interest in the company. And that was that. Then the so-called Iraqi reconstruction begins and who would have guessed which company would get the overwhelming majority of military contracts. Surprise!
Halliburton and their subsidiary KBR received contracts to do jobs that range from putting out oil fires to washing the troop’s laundry. If you’re a soldier in Iraq, then you’re probably familiar with the companies who feed and clothe you?and do so very poorly. The major drawback to outsourcing military jobs to a company of swine is obvious: the bottom line. When someone says the government should be run like a business, what they’re referring to is efficiency.
Halliburton and KBR had no reason for efficiency. They wasted away millions of dollars and had zero oversight. They had full range to charge whatever they wanted, gouging taxpayers wherever they could. According to Robert Greenwald’s documentary Iraq for Sale, KBR charged $100 per load of laundry and $40 for a six pack of cola. And CBS reported back in 2003 that Halliburton may have overcharged the Army $61 million for gasoline. And to drive the spike in a bit further, those people who were delivering the water, washing the clothes and cooking the food are getting paid five times more than the troops they serve.
So imagine for a moment you work side by side with someone doing the exact same job, and that person is making five times more money than you. How is that going to affect your morale?
They are also being accused of delivering contaminated water to our soldiers. They were reportedly supplying water that was two times more contaminated than the water in the Euphrates River. Ex-Halliburton employee and water purification specialist Ben Carter said 63 of the 67 Halliburton water treatment plants were providing unsafe water.
Carter said he is worried about troops coming home with possible life-threatening infections.
This isn’t just some incompetent company that’s pulled one over on the American taxpayers. This the worst case of cronyism illustrated by the idiot administration who rules us. And saying this is their worst case of cronyism is saying a lot.
In the face of several ongoing investigations, Halliburton recently cut ties with KBR and moved their headquarters to Dubai. They’ve made more than $20 billion in Iraq since the beginning of the war.