Profiteers for Hire

Sometimes I miss the old days. Remember back when "war profiteering" actually was thought to be a bad thing? Indeed, Harry Truman considered it treason.

But, hey, that's so old school. In these modern times of corporate coziness with Washington, war profiteering is business as usual -- just another of the entitlements that flow from corporate campaign contributions. And far from denouncing it, top officials applaud it, ably assist it, and even become profiteers themselves. Dick "Halliburton" Cheney, for example, is the poster boy of the ever-revolving door between the Pentagon and war profiteers.

But now, multi-billion-dollar profiteering by such names as Halliburton, Bechtel, and Boeing has become such a booming business that a new kind of corporate consultant has sprung up: Profiteering facilitator. These are political insiders who use their Washington connections to help paying clients get fat government contracts from us taxpayers to do this or that in Iraq. Many of these boondoggles are awarded out of the political offices of the White House and Pentagon with no competitive bids and little or no congressional oversight.

Among the profiteering facilitators to set up shop is Joe Allbaugh, a longtime Texas political crony of George W's who was appointed honcho of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Now, he has spun through the government's revolving door to open "New Bridge Strategies," getting huge fees paid by corporations that want Joe's guidance on getting a piece of that $87 billion that the Bushites are dumping into Iraq this year.

Of course, facilitators like Joe see no ethical conflict in profiteering on their connections. Allbaugh has proven to be ethically clueless, saying: "Because my friend is President of the United States, I'm supposed to check out of life?"

No, Joe ... just check out of being a corrupt pig. Do you seriously think anyone would hire you if you weren't the President's friend?


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