The Charge of Halliburton

Like a bad tamale, Halliburton, Inc. keeps repeating on us.

This massive military contractor has a long history of weaseling into war deals that reap huge profits for the company's owners and executives. During the Vietnam years, its Brown & Root subsidiary pumped money into Lyndon Johnson's campaign coffers and then drew billions of dollars from us taxpayers in profiteering funds from that war. Then, with Dick Cheney as its CEO in the 1990s, it grew even fatter on military deals, including getting Iraqi contracts to repair Saddam Hussein's war-torn oil industry.

Now, Cheney has moved up to vice president, Saddam has been declared the Great Satan, our troops are in an ongoing war in Iraq -- but there's Halliburton ... still weaseling, still profiteering. Cheney's old company (which puts more than $150,000 a year into his bank account) was first in line to get taxpayer funds from the Bush-Cheney regime for rebuilding Iraq. Of all the companies in the world, the Cheney-connected Halliburton got the non-bid contract to import gasoline into Iraq. So far, it has been paid $700 million for this chore, with the money coming not only from U.S. taxpayers, but also from a United Nations fund meant to provide humanitarian aid in Iraq.

Lest you think Halliburton is humanitarian, it has been caught gouging everyone involved. The company is charging $1.59 a gallon for the gasoline that it delivers from countries close around Iraq. Yes, says Halliburton, this is expensive, but after all, it takes a lot to distribute fuel in a dangerous war environment.

We might swallow that ... except that an Iraqi oil agency is able to get gasoline from the same surrounding countries, deliver it in the same hostile environment -- and charge only 98 cents a gallon, 40 percent less than Halliburton!

Hey, Halliburton -- in war, when the bugle blows, you're supposed to charge, not overcharge.

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