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09/15/2003 Archived Entry: "The World According to Halliburton"

Mark Fiore's latest animation "A Nation Remembers" is worth checking out. As is David Horsley's bitter/funny cartoon "I feel like LBJ".

David Firestone writes in the New York Times, "When President Bush informed the nation last Sunday night that remaining in Iraq next year will cost another $87 billion [on top of the $79 billion Congress already approved], many of those who will actually pay that bill were unable to watch. They had already been put to bed by their parents." (BTW, the passing of massive debt onto the shoulders of today's children is also the theme of Scott Carlson's latest cartoon "The Fantasy and the Reality.") So far, Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the US $166 billion -- and this is only the _unhidden_ cost, not the subtle ones like dislocation of the workforce now serving in Iraq and the impoverishment of their familiess, the loss of jobs domestically due to rising taxes and ensuing business bankruptcies... Today's children are being burdened with staggering debt, mind you, not in order to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure of their own nation but to rebuild Iraq, with companies like Halliburton (Cheney's-former-corp) receiving sweetheart contracts for which no competitive bids are taken, including a US Army Corps of Engineers contract worth nearly $950-million to rehabilitate Iraq's oil fields. At last count, Halliburton's "expenses" were up to $2 billion. For a broader perspective on how much Halliburton is swilling at the public trough, see Mother Jones' fascinating "The World According to Halliburton" which allows you to click on a globe to see precisely where Halliburton is spending tax money. Cheney claims that he severed all financial ties with Halliburton when he became VP but, according to the Guardian, "Halliburton...is still making annual payments to its former chief executive, the vice-president Dick Cheney. The payments, which appear on Mr Cheney's 2001 financial disclosure statement, are in the form of "deferred compensation" of up to $1m (600,000) a year." And, so, for corporate profit and neo-con State-building, the US may well drive the world economy into a depression. Even in the small shops of the rural Canadian town near which I live, people are not chatting about the weather but about the American stock market, the US tax-cuts, Bush's unparalleled deficit... Whither goes the States economically, so goes Canada...and much of the world. Britain is already reeling from the news that the military bill for the war and its aftermath will rise by 1billion to 4.5billion, and might well throw England "off course" economically.

Meanwhile, there are already rumblings that more money will be required. "Asked on NBC's Meet the Press if that would be the final such request, Cheney replied: 'I can't say that. It's all we think we'll need for the foreseeable future, for this year.' On CBS' Face the Nation...Rumsfeld wouldn't go even that far. He said consultations are under way with lawmakers, and how long the $87 billion will last has not been determined." Today, in a rare TV interview, Cheney unconditionally defended US policy and decision in Iraq, rising fatalities, a failure to find illegal weapons, and a higher-than-expected request for another $87 billion. The only evidence or argument that stands a chance of penetrating the Bush administration's insane commitment to neocon goals is the voice of the voting public which, fortunately, is speaking out at last. In the latest poll six in 10 people oppose the additional $87 billion with almost nine in 10 saying they're concerned the United States is going to get bogged down in a long peacekeeping mission in Iraq. Nevertheless, Bush's job approval rating remained at 58 percent. Frankly, whatever happens in the public polls, the economic die is cast.

I offer you my best wishes,
mac

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