Saturday, April 12, 2003

What Is Victory?

A statue is brought down by a crowd whose numbers included more American soldiers and international journalists than Iraqis yet somehow that image alone signifies victory for many.

The Defense Policy Board is a government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon. According to The Center for Public Integrity [ ] of its 30 members, 9 have ties to the defense industry. These companies have won more than $76 billion dollars in contracts from the U.S. government in the years 2001 and 2002. I’m sure these gentlemen whom you can read about in the article Advisors of Influence: Nine Members of the Defense Policy Board Have Ties to Defense Contractors would consider their lobbying efforts a victory.

George Schultz, chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, has been a strong advocate of regime change and reconstruction. He’s also on the board of directors of the Bechtel Group. Schultz was President of Bechtel until he became Secretary of State during the Reagan administration after which he returned to his company. In 1988 Bechtel oversaw a petrochemical plant in Iraq that was later alleged to be a site for developing chemical weapons, according to Congressional records, mustard gas. However that information wasn’t revisited in the recent Iraq Weapons Declaration as Bechtel was among those U.S. companies listed on the 8,000 pages the Bush administration tore out of it. In 1991 they assisted in the clean up of Kuwait until Schultz ordered them out and now in 2003 it is on the short list for primary contractor for the rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure. It will be interesting to observe if this reconstruction includes an Iraq to Jordan pipeline that was of great importance to Donald Rumsfeld [Aqaba] during that same period so much so that he overlooked Iraq‘s gassing of the Kurds in his efforts to cement the deal. Of course it’s difficult to determine since the bidding for these lucrative contracts is closed which I’m sure Mr. Schultz and Mr. Rumsfeld consider a victory.

Chevron Texaco stated this week it is ‘interested in any tender rights to develop Iraq’s abundant oil resources should a legitimate government be put in place’. Chevron Texaco is indeed familiar with Iraq’s vast resources. In 2002 alone the company loaded 44 million gallons of Iraqi crude through the 'Oil for Food' program. I’m sure Condoleezza Rice, its former Director, would consider their winning the new contract a victory.

Halliburton has a hand in much more than its construction and maintenance of cells in Guantanemo Bay. According to Corp Watch [ ] its employees ‘are working alongside US troops in Kuwait and Turkey under a package deal worth close to a billion dollars. According to US Army sources, they are building tent cities and providing logistical support for the war in Iraq in addition to other hot spots in the "war on terrorism." And of course Halliburton’s subdivision Kellogg, Brown, and Root was awarded the firefighting contract in yet another closed bid and without competition. According to an article on Common Dreams [] it ‘was open-ended, with no time limits and no dollar limits. It was also a "cost-plus" contract, meaning that the company is guaranteed to recover costs and then make a guaranteed profit on top of that. Its value is estimated at tens of millions of dollars.’ I’m sure Mr. Cheney considers this a victory for his ‘old’ company, especially since he continues to receive as much as $1 million a year in deferred compensation.

The Cambridge-based Autonomy Corporation, with Mr Richard Perle's help, is secretively selling advanced computer eavesdropping systems to intelligence agencies around the world. He recently vacated his seat at the head of the Defense Policy’s table for a less esteemed one on the board and continues to parlay his influence into personal profit while drumming up support for future conflicts. I’m sure Mr. Perle finds this situation to be a great victory.

In the meanwhile Paul Wolfowitz ferried in Ahmed Chalabi and a contingent of 500 INC backers signaling a Pentagon favored plan for the running of Iraq. Chalabi is a London based banker who is a favorite of this crowd despite his 1989 conviction for bank fraud in Jordan, from which he hurriedly fled after being tipped off about his indictment. He and his INC are often described as the "silk-suited, Rolex-wearing guys in London" with a history of being unreliable. Donald Rumsfeld has stated he may defy Congress and its backing of the State Dept. a solution that is favored by the CIA and Tony Blair as well. I’m sure Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz consider this a victory.

Only time will tell what the Iraqi people will call it.

No comments: