Cheney’s smoking Halliburton gun

Time has apparently proved me wrong, and officially removed any benefit of the doubt I might, foolishly, still be tempted to give the Bush Administration. Like an idiot (and John Kerry), I thought I could believe the President about WMD, and for that reason actually supported the war (if not the unilateral rush to war).

But even after all that has happened, of all the charges about Iraq war profiteering, I was perhaps most skeptical of the idea tha Dick Cheney actually influenced the awarding of no-bid contracts to Halliburton (of which we was, disastrously, CEO before becoming VP). After all, Halliburton is one of a very few companies equipped for the huge and specialized task of restoring Iraq’s oil production. And I know first-hand that Halliburton has highly skilled and ethical managers, particularly in its core oil-services operations. (My uncle is a high-ranking Halliburton executive overseeing operations in the former Soviet Union.) But most of all, I assumed that Cheney was too smart to do something so stupid, knowing that every administration skeptic was on the lookout for oily hands in the post-war cookie jar.

Apparently, though, he was both that stupid and that arrogant. The email discussed in the Time story is as good a smoking gun as you get. Feith and Wolfowitz have been doing Cheney’s bidding on everything else, and it’s now clear that Halliburton’s no-bid contract was just another drop in the bucket.

So after the yellowcake distortion, the “45 minutes” lie, the Plame affair, the illegal diversion of $700 million from Afghanistan to Iraq, the Chalabi clusterfuck, Rumsfeld’s madness in denying the Joint Chiefs the number of soldiers they requested, the complete and total mismanagement of the post-“Mission Accomplished” mission in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib abuse and coverup, and now this… how could anyone trust this administration to do anything right, doubt any accustation of corruption, ineptness, madness or malice? It boggles the mind. But Bush is still polling at a dead heat with Kerry.

If this administration wins re-election (or, uh, election), we will know, officially, that the nation has ceased to function as a democratic republic. While no doubt some fault for the current dire state lies our institutions and the media, we really have no one to blame but ourselves. We are a population no longer competent (or perhaps no longer interested enough) to safeguard government by the people and for the people.

Thinking about Bush, Cheney, and their disgusting junta makes me think invariably about the Ben Franklin quote Gore Vidal cited when David and I heard him speak in January, saying that our form of government, however successful for a time, “can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

8 thoughts on “Cheney’s smoking Halliburton gun”

  1. In carpool the other day, one of our riders was discussing the need for Kerry to give a speech in which he lists all of the lies, deceptions, and screwups of the Bush adminstration. Jay, you’ve done a pretty good job of writing it for him. And while I’d probably give my vote to any candidate who used the term “Chalabi clusterfuck” I think you should probably do a quick scrub for profanity before you hit send.

  2. As it turns out, though the phrase “Chalabi clusterfuck” is so inevitably apt that it appeared spontaneously in my mind, a quick Google reveals that it apparently materialized in the synapses of plenty of other people. Maybe it should become his nickname… “Remember the time ol’ Clusterfuck Chalabi went and told the Iranians about…” Ah, yes, we’ll remember him fondly.

  3. I have been serving in Iraq for over five months now as a soldier in the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the “ROCK.”

    We entered the country at midnight on the 26th of March; one thousand of my fellow soldiers and I parachuted from 10 jumbo jets (known as C-17s) onto a cold, muddy field in Bashur, Northern Iraq. This parachute operation was the U.S. Army’s only combat jump of the war and opened up the northern front.

    Things have changed tremendously for our battalion since those first cold, wet weeks spent in the mountain city of Bashur. On April 10 our battalion conducted an attack south into the oil-rich town of Kirkuk, the city that has since become our home away from home and the focus of our security and development efforts.

    Kirkuk is a hot and dusty city of just over a million people. The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms. After nearly five months here, the people still come running from their homes, in the 110-degree heat, waving to us as our troops drive by on daily patrols of the city. Children smile and run up to shake hands, in their broken English shouting “Thank you, mister.”

    The people of Kirkuk are all trying to find their way in this new democratic environment. Some major steps have been made in these last three months. A big reason for our steady progress is that our soldiers are living among the people of the city and getting to know their neighbors and the needs of their neighborhoods.

    We also have been instrumental in building a new police force. Kirkuk now has 1,700 police officers. The police are now, ethnically, a fair representation of the community as a whole. So far, we have spent more than $500,000 from the former Iraqi regime to repair each of the stations’ electricity and plumbing, to paint each station and make it a functional place for the police to work.

    The battalion also has assisted in re-establishing Kirkuk’s fire department, which is now even more effective than before the war. New water treatment and sewage plants are being constructed and the distribution of oil and gas are steadily improving.

    All of these functions were started by our soldiers here in this northern city and are now slowly being turned over to the newly elected city government. Laws are being rewritten to reflect democratic principles and a functioning judicial system was recently established to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the rule of law.

    The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored and we are a large part of why that has happened.

    The fruits of all our soldiers’ efforts are clearly visible in the streets of Kirkuk today. There is very little trash in the streets, there are many more people in the markets and shops and children have returned to school.

    This is all evidence that the work we are doing as a battalion and as American soldiers is bettering the lives of Kirkuk’s citizens. I am proud of the work we are doing here in Iraq and I hope all of your readers are as well.

    Lt. Col. Dominic Caraccilo

    “Die dulci fruimini!”

  4. From 1957 when the first Special Forces teams in Vietnam began training the nucleus of the Vietnamese Special Forces and Airborne Ranger units, the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) had strongly resisted any proposal that the SF be used in their basic mission of operating in the enemy’s rear areas. This was due to a number of reasons; principally the caveat imposed that US Forces not engage in combat and they not go into Laos, Cambodia or North Vietnam. Secondly, President Nixon’s blessing on Special Forces at Fort Bragg infuriated the higher commands who had been trying to squash Special Forces for years.

    Investigative reporter, Simon Marshall in Cheney: The Story He Cannot Tell (Doubleday) to be released next month, reveals Dick Cheney was recruited into a secret black-ops team called Alpha Major within the Special Forces. Although he “took to the training like a salami to a pizza” it quickly became apparent that Cheney was one of the anti-gods who would not play the game according to the rules of war. Additionally, in defiance to Army regulations, when Cheney went into the field, he defied orders that the officially-damned beret of the Green Beret would not be worn.

    As soon as he jumped into an operational area during maneuvers, he violated the official regulations against “the wearing of the green” and gleefully turned many maneuvers into chaos. In an early 501s maneuver Louisiana, Cheney and some of his buddies turned road signs around, sending convoys of equipment, rations and fuel heading off into completely different directions than intended. Units preparing for an assault were visited at night, preceding their assault, and received a briefing by a “Lt. Col Cheney” who brought XVIII Airborne Corps’ revision to their original attack plan, sending their regiment in another direction, in which they attacked one of their own units.

    The confusion caused the Commanding General of XVIII Airborne Corps to stop the operations. All Alpha Major personnel were sent back to Fort Bragg and the maneuvers resumed. However, upon return to Fort Bragg, the Commanding General wrote a new regulation which made the wearing of the beret a Courts Martial offense.

    The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and their southern cousins the Viet Cong (VC) operated with impunity in the sparsely-settled countryside. One reason was the excellent camouflage discipline of the NVA and the fact that most of their movement was at night. While bombing raids on the trail caused some delays, the absence of ground action against their main supply route permitted the NVA to move staggering amounts of men and material into South Vietnam to prepare for an extended war.

    The NVA established power bases in South Vietnam from the rugged mountains of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) a strip of land extending from the Yellow Sea to the borders of Laos, established to divide North and South Vietnam and Central Highlands in the north to the jungles, rice paddies and flat expanses of the Mekong Delta in the South. In the South, in addition to using the natural camouflage of the jungles, the VC dug and lived in miles of sophisticated caves and tunnels. MACV intelligence analysts were certain that these bases existed, but the enemy’s strict camouflage and security discipline made the bases almost impossible to locate by air reconnaissance.

    The only American troops which might be in position to challenge them were Cheney’s men aligned along these borders. They also suffered the most from the enemy’ utilization of the zone to Marshall their troops to attack the SF camps. Small wonder the battered teams began to feel the buffer zone was MACV’s revenge and that a courts martial for violating the zone was preferable to filling the insides of body bags. Instead of stopping at the zone, they began to follow enemy troops across and attacking them in their bivouac areas.

    Cheney was careful to insure that the map coordinates given higher headquarters for any troop movements or operations were well out of the zone. A little judicious lying, perhaps, but the A-Teams in the field had little or no support in the event they were attacked. Cheney and his team were responsible for dramatically shortening the war, wrote Military brass began court marshal proceedings against Cheney when it was discovered that his team violated border restrictions on a regular basis. But with Nixon’s intercession they agreed to give Cheney an honorable discharge and swore Cheney to silence. An oath that he has kept to this day despite the fact that he’s been derided constantly for the seeming lack of military service.

    Dick Cheney is truly an American Hero.


  5. “If this administration wins re-election (or, uh, election), we will know, officially, that the nation has ceased to function as a democratic republic. While no doubt some fault for the current dire state lies our institutions and the media, we really have no one to blame but ourselves. We are a population no longer competent (or perhaps no longer interested enough) to safeguard government by the people and for the people.”

    Hey, maybe you should try and learn a bit before you rant. If you had you would know that the 2000 election was held in direct accordance of the US Constitution which provides for a distinct and specific date by when votes must be certified.

    I also find it interesting that you clearly decided to omit the fact the Gore tried to alter the election votes by requiring that the adsentee ballots sent in by Armed Forces personell who are station overseas should only be accpeted by a specific date stamp.

    There is no requirement for this, either by Constitution, Federal or any state’s law. Gore was deliberately attempting to make sure that the Armed Forces, who are rated as being 23-1 Republican v. Democrat did not get their chance to vote.


  6. One other thing.

    Clinton provided more no-bids to Halliburton than any other President EVER.

    Clinton sent out our Armed Froces on useless peace-keeping missions over 45 times during his eight years of service. Between the end of WWII and the begining of the Clinton reign our forces were sent out 6 times.

    Also, Kerry hid the facts about our missing POW’s in order to land his cousin a nice pork-filled contract with North Vietnam.

    Also, had Democrats Kennedy and Johnson not upscaled America’s involvement in Vietnam no one would have all this great material about Kerry!

    Also, on September 11th Kerry and the rest of the Democratic party sat in the Captiol for 40 minutes between the time of the second and third place impacts. By Kerry’s own words he, and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership were utterly useless while Bush was already addressing the nation.

    And there was no “rush to war” so just cut the stupid shit out already.

    17 freaking UN resolutions and almost a years worth of warnings to Saddam to readmit the weapons inspectors.

    I love the doves who that the best part of humanity will prevail.

    You guys make me laugh.

  7. NO rush to war? Are you utterly nuts? Bush made the same mistake about Saddam that we made about the Soviets in the 1980s… both regimes were weak and failing. Reagan negotiated the end of the cold war from a position on strength that was far greater than he imagined. Bush, had he not been bent on one-upping his Daddy’s sensibly limited Gulf War, could have taken care of Saddam any number of ways without costing us $170Billion+ and 1,100 US war dead (not to mention the Iraqi casualties). Now, we’re locked in a horrible urban insurgency that is preventing us from dealing with the REAL threats in Iraq and North Korea.

    I’m no dove, Keith– I just expect that when the nation is told why we HAVE to go to war IMMEDIATELY, that that reason hold up. It didn’t, and we’ve been treated to another 15 “real reasons we went to war.” And, when this country goes to war, I expect it to be with enough troops, the right equipment, and a war plan that doesn’t cause the 101st Airborne to race past a major weapons facility without securing it. 380 tons, Keith. That’s how much high explosive this administration negligently let loose in Iraq for the insurgents to get their hands on.

    Laugh as much as you want– I’ve been talking to pollsters I work with all day. This election is going to be over at midnight Nov. 2, with a Kerry victory wide open enough to shut you and your ilk up. We’re talking mandate. We’re talking coattails. Then all of us here at nonfamous will have a toast in your honor and a great big laugh at your expense.

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