...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, April 28, 2003
      ( 11:17 AM )
All in the Family

Did anyone see the 60 Minutes piece last night about Halliburton and the post-war contracts? It was jaw-dropping to watch the display of inbred-ism going on with the government and the companies it awards contracts to. As Charles Lewis, executive director of the Center For Public Integrity, a non-profit organization that investigates corruption and abuse of power by government and corporations, said, it's not about a "revolving door" policy, "there is no door. There's no wall. I can't tell where one stops and the other starts."

Just a few prime examples:

Of course, we all know about Dick Cheney. While he was Secretary of Defense, in 1992, he commissioned Kellog, Brown & Root (The Halliburton subsidiary) to do a study on whether the government would benefit from privatizing work the military then did. Of course, the answer was "why, it would work very well to privatize the military, Mr. Cheney!" Thus, over the next 8 years, KB&R and another company got 2,700 contracts worth billions of dollars. Not only that, but Dick Cheney, who didn't have one minute of corporate experience ever was made the CEO of Halliburton upon his exit from the government. Then while he was at Halliburton, it doubled the amount of government contracts it received.

Of course, Mr. Cheney has done nothing illegal. It's all legal! They wrote the laws so it could be! Let's have a look at who else uses that wide-open revolving door. Shockingly, many of them sit on the Defense Policy Board:

Richard Perle, who we all know had to step down from his chairmanship of the board for his ties to several defense contracting companies;

James Woolsey (former CIA director), works for the consulting firm of Booz, Allen, Hamilton (which did nearly $700 million in business with the Pentagon last year);

Jack Sheehan (retired 4-star general), is now a senior vice president at the Bechtel corporation (which just won a $680 million contract to rebuild the infrastructure in Iraq - this contract, incidently, was awarded by the State Department, and none other than former Secretary of State George Schultz sits on Bechtel's Board).

Not mentioned in 60 Minutes story, here are some other members of the Defense Policy Board that are quite adeptly using that non-existent revolving door:

Richard Allen, former national security advisor (now the senior counsel to APCO worldwide and registered lobbyist for Alliance Aircraft);

Gen. (ret.) Ronald Fogleman, former member of joint chiefs of staff (now on the board of directors of defense contractor companies including Rolls-Royce North America, North American Airlines, AAR Corproation and the Mitre Corporation. More than $900 million in contracts were awarded in 2000 to companies on whose boards he sits. He is also currently the president and COO of the Bar J Cattle Company.);

Admiral (ret.) David Jeremiah, formerly Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (now servers as director or advisor for at least five defense contractors, which were awarded more than $10 billion in contracts in 2002. He is a member of the MITRE Board of Trustees);

Henry Kissinger (enough said);

Admiral (ret.) William Owens, former vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (now board member of five companies which received mroe than $60 million in defense contracts in 2002, including Symantic, Teledesic LLC and Science Applications International Corp (SAIC)).

It almost makes one stop to consider the truth behind the Syrian foreign minister Farouk al-Sharaa's statement that the war on Iraq was conducted in order to make money from post-war contracts. He better watch out. There's probably lots more money to be made in post-war Syria.

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