HIGHTOWER: Cheney Does Burma
How 'bout that Halliburton, huh?
Halliburton Inc. is the multibillion-dollar oilfield company that made our vice president such a rich man. Dick Cheney was head honcho of Halliburton until Little George Bush plucked him from CorporateWorld to come to Washington and run BushWorld, previously known as the US government. Lately, Cheney's been under fire for his tendency to stomp on anyone who gets in the way of the oil industry's agenda.
But stomping is simply the corporate way, and Cheney is only acting now as he did as CEO. For example, Halliburton is one of the few US companies that still does business with the thuggish, totalitarian rulers of Burma. Not only did Burma's thugs overthrow democracy there, but they maintain their power through human rights violations so severe that they give brutality a bad name.
Corporations like Halliburton have long done business deals with these thugs, providing the foreign capital for them to buy the weapons they need to keep repressing Burma's people. But in the 1990s, the repression got so repulsive that dozens of corporations pulled out. Not Halliburton, though.
With Cheney at the helm, Halliburton defied human rights advocates and the Burmese democracy movement by continuing to do business there. One of its joint-projects with the thugs was building the Yadana pipeline. To build it, farmers and others were conscripted by the dictators and forced at gunpoint to work on the pipeline. In turn, the thugs will pocket hundreds-of-millions of dollars from Halliburton and other foreign partners. Asked about this, Cheney said dismissively, "you have to operate in some very difficult places and oftentimes in countries that are governed in a manner that's not consistent with our principles here in the United States."
This is Jim Hightower saying...No you don't! Moral people-even CEOs-don't have to abandon our nation's fundamental principles just to make a buck. It's a choice...and one that Cheney makes too easily.