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Friday, January 30, 2004

Another letter to the NY Times
To the Editor:

Re "Halliburton Says Worker Participated in Kickbacks" (news article, Jan. 24):

A spokesman for Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, claims that a contract for logistical services for troops in Iraq was awarded two years ago? Not only was our government overcharged for these services, as Halliburton now admits by repaying $6.3 million, but this contract also predates the invasion of Iraq by more than a year. How could a company get a contract for an event that had not yet taken place unless it surely knew that it would?

Paul H. O'Neill, the former Treasury secretary, surely got it right when he claimed that almost from the inauguration the Bush administration was involved in planning to invade Iraq. This is another reason, perhaps, that Vice President Dick Cheney (chairman of Halliburton until 2000) doesn't want the content of his secret meetings with energy companies made public.

Jackson, N.J., Jan. 24, 2004

Here's the relevant quote from the article she refers to:

"We will bear the cost of the potential overcharge, not the government," said Randy Harl, the president and chief executive of the Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, to which the contract in question was awarded, in a statement.

The contract was awarded two years ago by the Army Field Support Command. It called for the subsidiary to provide a number of logistical services for troops in Iraq, including housing, transportation, food, laundry and recreation. Kellogg Brown & Root, in turn, contracted with the Kuwaiti company to handle some of the work.

Two years ago. January 2002, more or less. We didn't have troops in Iraq. "Major combat operations" were just winding down in Afghanistan (still are). Bush had just introduced us to his "axis of evil." And while there were those prescient enough to see what was coming, the rhetoric against Iraq had barely begun. They didn't start selling that product until September, following Andy Card's go-to-war timetable. No Congressional resolutions, no new UN resolutions. But Halliburton already had a contract to provide services for troops in Iraq.

Those Bushies, they tell a lot of lies. But the nonsense about going to war being their last choice--Herr Goebbels must be so proud.