Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I still don't understand the absence of outrage over the position of Dick Cheney in the Iraq debacle. Cheney is still getting paid by Halliburton. You can bet that after he is out of politics Halliburton will ensure that he is very well looked after. Due in part to Cheney's incompetent management when he was running Halliburton, Halliburton was in danger of disappearing under the weight of liability claims against it. Cheney is no doubt still assisting Halliburton in that battle, and the extremely lucrative contracts in Iraq, almost all of which are going to Halliburton, are ensuring that Halliburton remains in business. It is thus able to continue to pay Cheney and will still be around to reward him when he is out of politics. The attack on Iraq had extremely beneficial effects on Cheney's bank account. Here is a quote from an article entitled "Cheney was influential advocate of policy in Iraq" by Ron Hutcheson:

"According to other senior administration officials, Cheney, arguably the most influential member of Bush's inner circle, took the lead in pushing for Saddam Hussein's removal. He was also among the most optimistic in assessing the prospects for postwar Iraq, predicting that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators.

'His influence was at the starting point. He planted the seeds and the seeds grew into what he wanted,' said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked in the Pentagon office that dealt with postwar planning. 'The vice president was a player in this policy.'

Another senior administration official said Cheney 'has been the most powerful engine behind the Iraq policy from the start.' The official, who was unwilling to be identified as criticizing administration policy, said Cheney tipped the balance in internal debates by siding with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld over Powell.

Rumsfeld shared Cheney's desire for military action and his distrust of the United Nations, while Powell pushed for diplomatic alternatives to war and now is seeking a broader U.N. role in postwar Iraq.

'If it weren't for the vice president, Powell would have a fighting chance against Rumsfeld,' the official said."

Hundreds of dead American soldiers, thousands of badly maimed American soldiers, thousands and thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, the enmity of the whole world (brand names associated with the United States are rapidly losing market share around the world), and $166 billion (and counting) later, it turns out that the war turned on the insistence of one man who directly financially benefited from that war. Why aren't Americans rioting in the streets over this?