The Halliburton (Profit) Surge, the US and Iraqi Dirge
Well before the US and other oil companies can get their hands on the Iraqi oil supply -- the alleged alternative motive suggested for the war by many anti-war activists and commentators -- war profiteer and corporate welfare recipient Halliburton will have seen a profit surge apparently unmatched by any other military contractor in world history.
Dick Cheney's "former" company, Halliburton, which last year posted a record profit of 2.3 billion dollars, announced yesterday that it will move its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai. That is, after the run-off of the US treasury into its no-bid-contract coffers, Halliburton will now move its headquarters off-shore in order to minimize US tax liabilities. That tax incentive is what you might call a little splurge after the surge.
Yet today, in an address to the hawkish, pro-Israeli lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Dick Cheney accused the Democratic Congress of a 'slow bleeding' of the US military effort with attempts to curtail war spending. That slow bleeding would contrast with the kind of fast bleeding that Cheney has in mind.
A look at how Dick Cheney has been doing as a stockholder and "former" CEO in Halliburton should tell us quite a bit about his motives for attacking any proposed curtailment of the war funding. According to a CBS News report, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) asserts that Cheney's stock options -- worth $241,498 a year ago -- are now valued at more than $8 million. His deferred compensation account was valued at between $500,000 and $1 million, with additional generated income of $50,000 to $100,000. (According to financial disclosure forms, he was paid $205,298 in 2001; $262,392 in 2002; $278,437 in 2003; and $294,852 in 2004.) In 2002, Cheney's total assets were valued at between $19.1 million and $86.4 million. And that's before Cheney's Halliburton stock options rose 3,281% in 2005. Given the assured shiftiness of the Cheney accounting team and the windfall sure to follow after he leaves office, we cannot possibly calculate just how much this war has profited Cheney personally-to say nothing of the huge benefits it has brought those of his ilk.
Yet Cheney still has the audacity to stand before a powerful "American" lobby and tell us that his war profiteers need more money! " Anyone can say they support the troops and we should take them at their word, but the proof will come when it's time to provide the money," Cheney said today. That's right-anyone (in their right mind) can say that enough is enough and no more bleeding will be allowed. But not just anyone can stand before an "American" public, defend this disaster, and demand yet more money, while trying to shame those who would stop the bleeding. It takes a person with seriously vested interests to argue that a disaster for the vast majority is actually in their best interests. It takes a stock surge to make a believer in the military surge.
As I've said before, there isn't a level in hell low enough for Dick Cheney, but that's a metaphysical issue for another time, if indeed there is another time. For now, we must find a way to restrain this mega-monster, his corporate weapons, and the religio-ideological-idiot-puppet whose mouth he moves, George W. Bush. The surge in US military contracts is the only surge that will have appreciable results, and that surge will result in nothing but a dirge for Iraq, the US, the Middle East, and perhaps the world at large.
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