COLUMN EIGHTY-SEVEN, MARCH 15, 2003
(Copyright © 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)
CORPORATE CROOK VEEP:
CHENEY DID MUCHO BIZ WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN
BY ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
THE BOTTOM LINE ON IRAQ
Subject: Fw: Fw: Arianna on
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 07:14:03 -0800
From: allan winans <email@example.com>
From the Washington Post.
Arianna Huffington: The
bottom line on Iraq
By Arianna Huffington
Published 2:15 a.m. PST
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Boy, boys, you're all
right. Sure, it's Daddy, oil, and imperialism, not to mention a messianic sense
of righteous purpose, a deep-seated contempt for the peace movement, and, to be
fair, the irrefutable fact that the world would be a better place without Saddam
But there's also an
overarching mentality feeding the administration's collective delusions, and it
can be found by looking to corporate America's bottom line. There's money to be
made in post-war Iraq, and the sooner we get the pesky war over with, the sooner
we (by which I mean George Bush's corporate cronies) can start making it.
The nugget of truth that
former Bush economic guru Lawrence Lindsey let slip last fall shortly before he
was shoved out the oval office door says it all. Momentarily forgetting that he
was talking to the press and not his buddies in the White House, he admitted:
"The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy."
To hell with worldwide
protests, an Osama giddy at the prospect of a united Arab world, and a panicked
populace stocking up on duct tape to protect itself from the inevitable
terrorist blow-back--–the business of America is still business.
No one in the
administration embodies this bottom line mentality more than Dick Cheney. The
vice president is one of those ideological purists who never let little things
like logic, morality or mass murder interfere with the single-minded pursuit of
His on-again, off-again relationship with the Butcher of Baghdad is a textbook example of what
First Cheney is on the "outs" with Saddam, then he's a buddy and now he's on the "outs"
condemn as "situational ethics," an extremely convenient code that
allows you to do what you want when you want and still feel good about it in the
The two were clearly on the
outs back during the Gulf War, when Cheney was Secretary of Defense and the
first President Bush dubbed Saddam "Hitler revisited."
Then Cheney moved to the
private sector, and suddenly things between him and Saddam warmed up
considerably. With Cheney in the CEO's seat, Halliburton helped Iraq reconstruct
its war-torn oil industry with $73 million worth of equipment and
services---becoming Baghdad's biggest such supplier. Kinda nice how that worked
out for the vice president, really: oversee the destruction of an industry that
you then profit from by rebuilding.
When, during the 2000
campaign, Cheney was asked about his company's Iraqi escapades, he flat out
denied them. But the truth remains: When it came to making a buck, Cheney
apparently had no qualms about doing business with "Hitler revisited."
And make no mistake, this
wasn't a case of hard-nosed realpolitik---the rationale for Rummy's cuddly
overtures to Saddam back in '83 despite his almost daily habit of gassing
Iranians. No, Cheney's company chose to do business with Saddam after the rape
of Kuwait. After Scuds had been fired at Tel Aviv and Riyadh. After American
soldiers had been sent home from Desert Storm in body bags.
And in 2000, just months
before pocketing his $34 million Halliburton retirement package and joining the
GOP ticket, Cheney was lobbying for an end to U.N. sanctions against Saddam.
Of course, American
businessmen are nothing if not flexible. So his former cronies at Halliburton
are now at the head of the line of companies expected to reap the estimated $2
billion it will take to rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure following Saddam's
Lenin once scoffed that
"a capitalist would sell rope to his own hangman." And, while the man
got more than a few things wrong, he's been proven right on this one time and
time again: from Hewlett-Packard and Bechtel helping arm Saddam back in the
'80s, to the good folks at Boeing, Hughes Electronics, Lockheed Martin, and
Loral Space whose corporate greed helped China steal rocket and missile
secrets---and point a few dozen long-range nukes our way.
Clearly, our national
interest runs a distant second when pitted against the rapacious desires of
special interests and the politicians they buy with massive campaign
contributions. Oil and gas companies donated $26.7 million to Bush and his
fellow Republicans during the 2000 election and another $18 million in 2002. So
does it really come as any surprise that Cheney's staff held secret meetings in
October with executives from Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips---and,
yes, Halliburton---to discuss who would get what in a post-Saddam Iraq? As they
say, to the victors---and the big buck
Here's my bottom line: At a time of war, at what point does subverting our national security in the name of profitability turn from ugly business into high treason? ##
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