By Chris Floyd - The Moscow Times
March 30, 2003.
"The rule of law is
"Cheney is an old hand at this kind of
death merchanting, of course. In the first Bush-Iraq War,
Cheney, playing the role now filled by Don Rumsfeld -- a
squinting, smirking, lying Secretary of Defense -- directed
the massacre of some 100,000 Iraqis, many of whom were buried
alive, or machine-gunned while
Before the first cruise missile crushed the first skull of the first child killed in the first installment of George W. Bush's crusade for world dominion, the unelected plutocrats occupying the White House were already plying their corporate cronies with fat contracts to "repair" the murderous devastation they were about to unleash on Iraq. There was, of course, no open bidding allowed in the process; just a few "selected" companies -- selected for their preponderance of campaign bribes to the Bushist Party, that is -- "invited" to submit their wish lists to the War Profiteer-in-Chief.
It should come as no surprise
that one of the leading beneficiaries of this hugger-mugger largess
is our old friend, Halliburton Corp., the military-energy servicing
conglomerate. Halliburton, headed by Vice Profiteer Dick Cheney
until the Bushist coup d'etat in 2000, is already reaping billions
from the Bush wars -- which Cheney himself says "might not end in
Cheney is an old hand at this
kind of death merchanting, of course. In the first Bush-Iraq War,
Cheney, playing the role now filled by Don Rumsfeld -- a squinting,
smirking, lying Secretary of Defense -- directed the massacre of
some 100,000 Iraqis, many of whom were buried alive, or
machine-gunned while retreating along the "Highway of Death," or
annihilated in sneak attacks launched after a ceasefire had been
called. When George I and his triumphant conquerors were
unceremoniously booted out of office less than two years later by
that radical fringe group so hated by the Bushists -- the American
people -- Cheney made a soft landing at Halliburton.
There, he grew rich on
government contracts and taxpayer-supported credits doled out by his
old pals in the military-industrial complex. He also hooked up with
attractive foreign partners -- like Saddam Hussein, the
"worse-than-Hitler" dictator who paid Cheney $73 million to rebuild
the oil fields that had been destroyed by, er, Dick Cheney. And
while the Halliburton honcho became a multimillionaire many times
over, some of his employees were not so lucky -- Cheney ashcanned
more than 10,000 workers during his boardroom reign. (At least, he
didn't bury them alive.)
Old news, you say? Irrelevant
to the current crisis? Surely, now that Cheney has been translated
to glory as the nation's second-highest public servant, he is beyond
any taint of grubby material concerns? Au contraire, as those
ever-dastardly French like to say. At this very moment, while the
smoke is still rising from the rubble of Baghdad, while the bodies
of the unburied dead are still rotting in the desert wastes, Dick
Cheney is receiving $1 million a year in so-called "deferred
compensation" from Halliburton. That's a million smackers from a
private company that profits directly from the mass slaughter in
Iraq, going into the pockets of the "public servant" who is, as the
sycophantic media never tires of telling us, the power behind George
W.'s throne -- and a prime architect of the war.
This is money that Cheney
wouldn't get if Halliburton went down the tubes -- a prospect it
faced in the early days of the Regime, due to a boneheaded merger
engineered by its former CEO, a guy named, er, Dick Cheney. In a
deal apparently sealed during a golf game with an old crony, Cheney
acquired a subsidiary, Dresser Industries -- a firm associated with
the Bush family for more than 70 years -- which was facing billions
of dollars in liability claims for its unsafe use of asbestos.
Dresser's bigwigs doubtless made out like bandits from the deal, and
Cheney left the mess behind when the grateful Bushes put him on the
presidential ticket, but there was serious concern that Halliburton
itself would be forced into bankruptcy -- unless it found massive
new sources of secure funding to offset the financial "shock and
awe" of the asbestos lawsuits.
Then lo and behold, after Sept.
11, Halliburton received a multibillion-dollar, open-ended, no-bid
contract to build and service U.S. military bases and operations all
over the world. It also won several shorter-term contracts, such as
expanding the concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, where the Regime
is holding unnamed, uncharged suspected terrorists in violation of
the Geneva Convention. With this fountain of federal money pouring
into its coffers -- and Bushist operatives in Congress pushing
legislation to restrict asbestos lawsuits -- Halliburton was able to
hammer out a surprisingly favorable settlement deal with the
asbestos victims. The company -- and Cheney's million-dollar
paychecks -- were saved. Praise Allah!
Halliburton is just the tip of
the slagheap, of course. Daddy Bush's popsicle stand, the Carlyle
Group -- which controls a vast network of defense firms and
"security" operations around the world -- is also panning gold from
the streams of blood pouring down the ancient tracks of Babylon.
Junior Bush -- who like a kept woman made his own influence-peddling
fortune through services rendered to a series of sugar daddies --
has conveniently gutted the national inheritance tax, swelling his
own eventual bottom line when his father joins the legions of
Panamanian, Iranian, Afghan, Iraqi -- and American -- dead he and
his son have sent down to Sheol.
Never in American history has a
group of government leaders profited so directly from war -- never.
Like their brothers-in-arms, Saddam's Baathists, the Bushists treat
their own country like a sacked town, looting the treasury for their
family retainers and turning public policy to private gain. Like
Saddam, they feed on fear and glorify aggression. Like Saddam, they
have dishonored their nation and betrayed its people.
But the money sure is good, eh,