Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

THE WAR The Money [Part 32]


Reports of waste, deception and deviousness in Iraq pile up almost as fast as Bush administration resignations. No real surprises here for anyone who has been half awake. Yet we’ve seen Bush, Senate Republicans and McBush (when he's around to cast a vote) are ready to go to the veto and fillibuster mats to keep appropriations cuts for a war that never should have happened from coming to a vote. I guess that’s called “continuity” by those Republican rabbits who have no place to go but back into the same hole.

If you read this entire article you will find that, yes, Cheney’s old corporate parlor car, Haliburton, is still the first car on the bloody gravy train. Here’s a target quote: “When the war began, for example, Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the company run by Dick Cheney before he was vice president, was the largest Pentagon contractor in Iraq. After years of criticism and scrutiny for its role in Iraq, Halliburton sold the unit, which is still the largest defense contractor in the war, and has 40,000 employees in Iraq.”

Right. 40,000!

And this brings us to the last paragraph in the excerpt below. It points out circumstances few recognize let alone think about.

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The New York Times
August 12, 2008
Use of Iraq Contractors Costs Billions, Report Says
By JAMES RISEN

WASHINGTON — The United States this year will have spent $100 billion on contractors in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, a milestone that reflects the Bush administration’s unprecedented level of dependence on private firms for help in the war, according to a government report to be released Tuesday.

The report, by the Congressional Budget Office, according to people with knowledge of its contents, will say that one out of every five dollars spent on the war in Iraq has gone to contractors for the United States military and other government agencies, in a war zone where employees of private contractors now outnumber American troops. . . .

Contractors in Iraq now employ at least 180,000 people in the country, forming what amounts to a second, private, army, larger than the United States military force, and one whose roles and missions and even casualties among its work force have largely been hidden from public view. The widespread use of these employees as bodyguards, translators, drivers, construction workers and cooks and bottle washers has allowed the administration to hold down the number of military personnel sent to Iraq, helping to avoid a draft.

GO HERE

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