Friday, October 27, 2006

Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers


  • 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.”
Some of the interesting tidbits from the film:
  • 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.
After the movie, a local soldier in the reserves who recently spent 13 months in Iraq spoke. Although he tempered his comments, noting there were things he couldn’t talk about as he’s still in the reserves, he did agree that there is a lot of waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq. He also said that the contractors in Iraq are now mostly being guarded by American soldiers. This creates a morale problem, to have a soldier who is making $25,000 a year guarding a contractor (who often does the same job the soldier has been trained to do), yet draws $135,000 a year.
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…

14 comments:

  1. I haven't watched Fahrenheit 9/11, the hype version, the Wal-Mart one or this one simply because I figured my blood would boil dry before the end of the movie. Sometimes, ignorance truly is bliss. Besides, like you said, we've probably heard it all before anyway.

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  2. sage~ it was a good night to go out since we all know where the Tigers stand... *sigh*

    although i'm sure the movie didn't enhance your mood as it wouldn't mine, either. sicksicksick of the bushies and all their stupidstupidstupid actions!

    unlike you, i prefer to associate with those on the political extreme, left. i'm tired of all the dems *republican lite* bs.

    'k, that's my rant, and i'm stickin' to it! :+)

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  3. Ed, knowing the allegations beforehand kept my blood from boiling too much.

    Karen, I got home in the second inning--I wish I could have missed that bad throw to first. Stick to your rant!

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  4. It'll take generations to unravel all the nastiness that led to the U.S. involvement in Iraq. This will go down in history as one of the most immoral campaigns the country has ever been involved in. The war-for-profit angle only makes it worse. Infinitely worse.

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  5. I'm afraid the Bush reign Iraq and otherwise has disillusioned me with the Republican party. I'm not really happy with the Democrats' party either; but there is no other realistic party to turn to. :(

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  6. The sad thing is that this is only the start of the war of "resources" whatever the resource may be: land, oil etc
    I wish I saw more hope. I wonder how true the fundamentalist views on Last times doctrines are. It is getting harder to by cynical concerning their views about impending doom of the armagedon scenario. I supose the only hope is in their views of the following second coming.

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  7. Michele sent me to say 'hi'. But much to my delight, I found a blog that I will return to again and again. Your comments are thoughtful and entertaining. And I totally agree, some day, someone, must hold Cheney accountable for his actions. But who will it be???

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  8. "some day, someone, must hold Cheney accountable for his actions. But who will it be???"...

    ...the devil!

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  9. What is the real cause of global warming? The sun is getting hotter! Wanna know how gravity works or what the meaning of life is? There is more where that came from! Check out Barry's Amazing Ideas blog right here on Blogger or go to www.barrysamazingideas.blogspot.com
    Post a comment and tell me what you think!

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  10. So are the contractors considered part of the "coalition of the willing"?!

    Great post Sage...Michele says hello.

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  11. sage~ sorry about the Tigers; i feel your pain. *sigh*

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  12. I feel bad about the Tigers too. Being from Pittsburgh I would like to have seen Jim Leyland get a World Series.

    Here via Michele's

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  13. Sage...good post. And I so agree with getting too close to either party extreme left or right. I actually would love to do away with the parties since I think both are too corrupt and power hungry. And the money....only those able to raise millions can run... What if we started taking care of "we the people" again and let the extremists sit sulking in the corners for a while!

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  14. Great post Sage. Hopefully the Dems can take over both houses (a big if), and become something of a check.

    Though the biggest check should have come two years ago with the booting of this corrupt and inept administration.

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