The Electric Commentary

Friday, August 20, 2004

Business as Usual

Before the war in Iraq began, the far left denounced it as a war for oil. There were humors that Cheney's former Haliburton company would be given preferred access to Iraqi oil and government contracts.

Turns out those rumors were true. Haliburton was given said access in the form of a no-bid contract. So much for those free-market Republicans. But that doesn't smack of corruption just enough so...then there were the accusations of Haliburton overcharging the government. These may or may not be true, but it doesn't help that $8.8 billion can't be accounted for and neither the govenment nor Haliburton has enough people to keep track of all the money we give them. We can't let them get away with this!

I sure hope the Pentagon does something about holding Haliburton accountable.

This isn't the conspiracy theory nightmare scenario that the left predicted before the war; it's worse. I don't believe this is a simple error. People are getting rich at the expense of our government with inside help. This is by far the most egregious case of poor goverment planning in my lifetime and the Bush administration must be held accountable for it. The lack of oversight and planning in Iraq is sickening. You may be a dove, you may be a hawk, but how can anyone defend such a botched execution. I want my $8.8 billion back.

1 Comments:

  • I just have to add one thing. Before I do, I agree with the larger point of this post that 8.8 billion dollars is in fact not accounted for, and someone needs to explain it or pay for it.

    But, the "Halliburton got a no-bid contract" story is at best a half truth. They were already under contract:

    The US Army Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP. Here is the gist of the deal, from Rich Lowry of Townhall.com. Most of this is based on reports by the National Review, who investigated all of these charges in depth when the accusations were at their loudest. SOme of their explanations were bad. This one was not:

    "As journalist Byron York has reported, it's not really true that the company got its work without competitive bidding. In the 1990s, the military looked for ways to get outside help handling the logistics associated with foreign interventions. It came up with the U.S. Army Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP. The program is a multiyear contract for a corporation to be on call to provide whatever services might be needed quickly.

    Halliburton won a competitive bidding process for LOGCAP in 2001. So it was natural to turn to it (actually, to its wholly owned subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root) for prewar planning about handling oil fires in Iraq. "To invite other contractors to compete to perform a highly classified requirement that Kellogg Brown & Root was already under a competitively awarded contract to perform would have been a wasteful duplication of effort," the Army Corps of Engineers commander has written."

    Furthermore, this type of defense contract is fairly standard:

    "The Clinton administration made the same calculation in its own dealings with Halliburton. The company had won the LOGCAP in 1992, then lost it in 1997. The Clinton administration nonetheless awarded a no-bid contract to Halliburton to continue its work in the Balkans supporting the U.S. peacekeeping mission there because it made little sense to change midstream. According to Byron York, Al Gore's reinventing-government panel even singled out Halliburton for praise for its military logistics work.

    So, did Clinton and Gore involve the United States in the Balkans to benefit Halliburton? That charge makes as much sense as the one that Democrats are hurling at Bush now. Would that they directed more of their outrage at the people in Iraq who want to sabotage the country's oil infrastructure, rather than at the U.S. corporation charged with helping repair it."

    Whole thing at: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/richlowry/printrl20030918.shtml

    I take issue with the accounting practices of the government much more than I do with Halliburton. After all,when this is all said and done Halliburton will almost certainly undergo a serious audit. To some extent this has happened already:

    See - http://www.startribune.com/stories/535/4909755.html

    Anyway, It is inexcusable that there is 8.8 Billion missing, but Halliburton is certainly not the drivng force behind it. They are, at worst, a contributing factor.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 8:28 AM  

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