It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a political gathering, but last night I subjected myself to one in order to watch the movie I’ve heard so much about, “Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers. A local Democratic group offered a free showing. Over all, I think the film was about what I expected as most of the indictments and accusations have been in the news. As for the meeting itself, I felt uncomfortable. Although most in the audience seemed to be level headed, the woman in charge seemed at times over the top in her rhetoric (to her credit, she did apologize at the end for being rude). However, being there reminded me of how I prefer to disassociate with those on either political extreme, left and right.
As anyone who has read my blog knows, I have been a critic of the Iraqi War since it began. In my opinion, we had no choice but to go into Afghanistan. Iraq is another story. But we’re now there and how can someone not know that the Iraqi War has created tremendous profits for a few large corporations that hold non-bid contracts? Furthermore, I can’t see how anyone can’t know that certain key people in our government—including the Vice President—have been instrumental in funneling business to firms in which they hold significant investments. So that part of the film, showing how certain corporations (and their CEOs) are making fortunes wasn’t a surprise. But it did reinforce in my mind that people like Cheney need to be held accountable (which won’t happen as long as Congress is filled with his friends). Enough ranting…
This film puts a personal touch on the profits and those who are paying the price: families whose sons were killed while working for contractors in Iraq, truck drivers who lost friends in the country, soldiers who have had to deal with substandard services. Although some of this could be blamed on disgruntled former employees and soldiers, one can’t totally dismiss the numbers and the evidence against these corporations. And also, as we go into an election campaign, we need to remember that by outsourcing much of this war, Congress has failed to provide oversight and to protect American tax revenues!
I tend to be a fiscal conservative. And I find disturbing is that, with a few exceptions, fiscal conservatives in leadership roles, who should be concerned with things like government spending, have been quiet on this issue. Why isn’t our “conservative congress” doing more to investigate these allegations? As the old journalistic adage goes, “follow the money trail.”
- If you put together all the private contractors working as body guards and security forces in Iraq, they’d make up the second largest coalition army in Iraq, with more soldiers than the British.
- Why should American soldiers reenlist, when they can get six times the salary by working for a private contractor?
- 50% of all interrogators are private contractors. As these contractors are exempt from military justice, their abuses are mostly going unpunished, unlike their military counterparts who have been court-martialed for abuses.
- The Cost-Plus method of reimbursing corporations like KBR/Halliburton has created widespread fraud and the creation of expenses which allows the corporation to bill the federal government even more for their “services.”
- No competition in the bidding has created a climate of indifference and has led to fraud and abuses.
Do those CEOs who make $40+ million a year off Iraq and the Congress who refuses to provide oversight have any ethics or morality? And whatever happened to the American concept of checks and balances? Again, enough ranting, but since I can’t brag about the Tigers, there’s little else I can do…