Halliburton

What do you know — former Halliburton subsidiary KBR really is in bed with the White House, just like the liberal media shrieked for 8 years:

  • KBR Inc. was selected for a no-bid contract worth as much as $568 million through 2011 for military support services in Iraq, the Army said [Bloomberg Business]

(Right Wing News; see also NewsBusters)

The Halliburton mantra is getting to a fever pitch, again. This is merely the Left fear mongering about things it knows nothing about, that is, hard work and the companies and people behind that hard work. Another thing Democrats seem to know nothing about is that both President’s Johnson and Clinton used Halliburton via no-bid contracts:

Dallas, Texas – Brown & Root Services (BRS), a business unit of Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL), has been selected to continue its services as the premier logistics support provider to U.S. forces deployed in the Balkans region. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Transatlantic Programs Center announced today that it awarded the logistics support services contract, which becomes effective on May 28, 1999, to Brown & Root Services for a period of up to five years. Contract value is estimated up to $180 million per year, with a maximum value of $900 million if all four option periods are exercised. The one-year contract has four one-year options that can be awarded at the government’s discretion.

My question is this, “could any other company have bid on the no-bid contracts?” The Democrats are always parroting about allowing others to bid for contracts! This is similar in thinking that anyone but Red Adair could put out the oil well fires after the First Gulf War. They were a no-bid contract.

An L.A. Times op-ed of April 22 said, “Halliburton Received No-Bid Contracts During Clinton Administration For Work In Bosnia And Kosovo.” An October 2003 article in the (Raleigh, NC) News & Observer quoted Bill Clinton’s Undersecretary Of Commerce William Reinsch as saying,

“‘Halliburton has a distinguished track record,’ he said. ‘They do business in some 120 countries. This is a group of people who know what they’re doing in a difficult business. It’s a particularly difficult business when people are shooting at you.’”

(FrontPage Magazine)

There are two very large companies that could have done a lot of what Halliburton could do, one company is Brown and Root, and the other is Bechtel. Brown and Root was bought by Halliburton a long while back, and Bechtel is just an engineering firm as is Black and Vetch. In fact, the GAO came out and stated that only Haliburton could do the job… and get it done on time. No other company could have done this. Again, this same scenario happened in Bosnia with Clinton. All this is politicking by the Democrats to try and confuse the electorate.

An excellent article by The Heretical Librarian reads thus:

One of the most disgusting and ridiculous myths circulated by Bush haters is the idea that the Iraq campaign was launched as a way to enrich the Halliburton Corporation. For one thing, the notion that Halliburton is rolling in the profits in Iraq is ludicrous. As Slate noted in April:

So far, the Iraq war hasn’t proved much of a boon for Halliburton’s shareholders. Because of incompetence, the chaos of working in the war zone, and a contract that limits profits, KBR’s margins on its hazardous work are pretty marginal.

On March 9, the Washington Post reported that Halliburton made $85 million in Iraq in 2003, out of expenditures of $3.6 billion, a profit margin of less than 2.5%. Hardly what most people would consider to be “war profiteering”…

Back in July 2003, Byron York pointed out in National Review that Halliburton is a long established government contractor, and that critics “overlook Halliburton’s extensive history of defense work for earlier administrations. Indeed, far from having a ‘troubling’ past, one could argue that Halliburton was a favorite contractor of the Clinton Pentagon.”

…read more…

The following is the full FrontPage article:


The Facts on Halliburton, By Michael P. Tremoglie
FrontPageMagazine.com 10/8/2004

To partisans of a liberal, radical, and Democratic Party background, Halliburton is synonymous with evil, the symbol of cloven-footed, corrupt capitalism.

According to the these activists, Halliburton is the treasonous corporation of which VP Cheney was formerly CEO — treasonous because the company is reaping profits from the war in Iraq as our bravest young men are dying.

Both John Kerry and John Edwards have picked up on this. Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry recently said, “the only people George Bush’s policies are working for are the people he chooses to help…They’re working for drug companies. They’re working for oil companies… and they’re certainly working for Halliburton.” Edwards likewise inserted this issue into this week’s vice presidential debate.

It has been a reigning motif of the conspiracist Left that has slowly gained the mainstream acceptance of the man who could be the next president — and the man who could be the frontrunner in the 2008 presidential race.

The Left has been on this theme for quite some time. According to an article by Carl Hiassen, in the April 25 edition of the Miami Herald, “Dick Cheney had gotten the war he wanted. One year later, it’s costing us a staggering $4.7 billion a month, or about $157 million per day. A hefty chunk of that is being spent on support services provided in Iraq by Halliburton, the Texas company that Cheney ran before joining the Bush ticket in 2000. Cheney says he has severed his ties to Halliburton and had nothing to do with the lucrative no-bid contracts awarded to the firm. Not everyone is persuaded that the connection is merely coincidental.”

All this rhetoric echoes the words of the revolutionary Marxist journal International Socialist Review (ISO), which has made reference to the “corporate invasion of Iraq by large U.S. corporations like Halliburton.”[1]

Why do leftists demonize Halliburton? What proof exists of their claims of corruption? What exactly has Halliburton done to profit from American military casualties? Indeed, have they profited from military casualties? Is there a special relationship between the Bush administration and Halliburton so that the company receives contracts without observing the normal bidding process?

It is certainly true that during a two year period Halliburton’s revenue from Defense Department contracts doubled. However, that increase in revenue occurred from 1998 to 2000 – during the Clinton administration.

In 1998, Halliburton’s total revenue was $14.5 billion, which included $284 million of Pentagon contracts. Two years later, Halliburton’s DoD contracts more than doubled.

Regarding the Iraq contracts, Halliburton was accused by Democrats of receiving special “no-bid” contracts because of Cheney’s influence. One advertisement by the Democrats charged, “Bush gave contracts to Halliburton instead of fighting corporate corruption.”

FactCheck.org an organization which ascertains the validity of political campaign advertisements researched this accusation. According to FactCheck,

“The Bush administration is doing a fair amount to fight corporate corruption, convicting or indicting executives of Enron, Arthur Andersen, Tyco International, Worldcom, Adelphia Communications Corporation, Credit Suisse First Boston, HealthSouth Corporation and others, including Martha Stewart. The Department of Justice says it has brought charges against 20 executives of Enron alone, and its Corporate Fraud Task Force says it has won convictions of more than 250 persons to date. Bush also signed the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in 2002, imposing stringent new accounting rules in the wake of the Arthur Andersen scandal.”

When Factcheck.org checked the facts about allegations by Democrats that there was a scandal because of the “no-bid” contracts awarded to Halliburton they stated,

“It is false to imply that Bush personally awarded a contract to Halliburton. The ‘no-bid contract’ in question is actually an extension of an earlier contract to support U.S. troops overseas that Halliburton won under open bidding. In fact, the notion that Halliburton benefited from any cronyism has been poo-poohed by a Harvard University professor, Steven Kelman, who was administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Clinton administration. ‘One would be hard-pressed to discover anyone with a working knowledge of how federal contracts are awarded…who doesn’t regard these allegations as being somewhere between highly improbable and utterly absurd,’ Kelman wrote in the Washington Post last November.” (Emphasis added.)

The Center for Public Integrity another public interest group also investigated the purported scandal of the Halliburton “no-bid” contracts. They wrote:

In Iraq, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) has been awarded five contracts worth at least $10.8 billion, including more than $5.6 billion under the U.S. Army’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) contract, an omnibus contract that allows the Army to call on KBR for support in all of its field operations. When the Army needs a service performed, it issues a “task order,” which lays out specific work requirements under the contract…From 1992 to 1997, KBR held the first LOGCAP contract awarded by the Army, but when it was time to renew the contract, the company lost in the competitive bidding process to DynCorp after the General Accounting Office reported in February 1997 that KBR had overrun its estimated costs in the Balkans by 32 percent (some of which was attributed to an increase in the Army’s demands). KBR (obtained) the third LOGCAP contract in December 2001…[I]n November 2002 the Army Corps of Engineers tasked KBR to develop a contingency plan for extinguishing oil well fires in Iraq…[O]n March 24, 2003, the Army Corps announced publicly that KBR had been awarded a contract to restore oil-infrastructure in Iraq, potentially worth $7 billion. The contract KBR received…would eventually include 10 distinct task orders. KBR did not come close to reaching the contract ceiling, billing just over $2.5 billion…The contract was awarded without submission for public bids or congressional notification. In their response to congressional inquiries, Army officials said they determined that extinguishing oil fires fell under the range of services provided under LOGCAP, meaning that KBR could deploy quickly and without additional security clearances.

Neither the Center for Public Integrity nor Factcheck.org determined anything sinister about Halliburton’s no-bid” contracts for the Iraq war. Two nonpartisan, nonaligned, public interest organizations have investigated the Halliburton allegations and found them to be specious allegations made for purely political purposes.

An L.A. Times op-ed of April 22 said, “Halliburton Received No-Bid Contracts During Clinton Administration For Work In Bosnia And Kosovo.” An October 2003 article in the (Raleigh, NC) News & Observer quoted Bill Clinton’s Undersecretary Of Commerce William Reinsch as saying,

“‘Halliburton has a distinguished track record,’ he said. ‘They do business in some 120 countries. This is a group of people who know what they’re doing in a difficult business. It’s a particularly difficult business when people are shooting at you.'”

If Democrats want to investigate a scandal involving Iraq they should devote their efforts to the UN “Oil-for-Food” program instead of Halliburton. However, they will not because Saddam Hussein is not a candidate in this presidential election.

ENDNOTES:

[1] Internation Socialist Review, “Iraq, Palestine, and U.S. Imperialism

A former police officer, Michael P. Tremoglie recently published his first novel, A Sense of Duty. His work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Human Events, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has a Master of Science degree from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia.

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