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Friday, May 16, 2003
 
Sometimes it helps to rephrase things

We've all heard about how Dick Cheney's old company Halliburton had been awarded the contract to run the Iraqi oil distribution system, without having to bid, without public hearings or any public oversight whatsoever, and contrary to initial Bush administration characterizations of the deal as a much smaller contract to repair and maintain Iraq's oil infrastructure. Apart from Henry Waxman, the news has caused barely ripple in the American public's consciousness.

Good thing we've got Chris Floyd around to put things in perspective:

Last week we learned that the U.S. administration lied about the extent of Halliburton Corp.'s involvement in the "reconstruction" of Iraq. Officials in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush initially claimed that Halliburton -- the oil and defense services conglomerate once headed by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who still receives an estimated $1 million annually from the company in "deferred compensation" -- had been awarded a relatively small contract to repair Iraqi oilfields.

But in fact, as the Washington Post reports, Halliburton is now pumping and distributing Iraq's vast oil reserves -- a privilege potentially worth billions of dollars. The Bush camp freely admits that this was part of Halliburton's no-bid, open-ended contract all along; they deliberately "failed to mention it" in their first official notices. It was not publicly disclosed until a congressman read the fine print of the contract and began asking questions.

To recap: a firm that pays the vice president of the United States a million dollars a year has now taken over operation of Iraq's oil wealth. There have been times in U.S. history when such an arrangement would have been called by its true name: "corruption." But these are not such times.


(emphasis added)