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Your Tax Dollars At Work


This week, I thought I would change things up a bit and I’ll throw my own hat into the YouTube video frenzy that has taken over the liberal blogosphere in recent weeks and highlight some videos regarding war profiteers provided online.

First, some trailers. Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films have an upcoming documentary, Iraq for Sale due out in the fall. Trailers available via YouTube. Also, a film that I have yet to see but certainly looking forward to watching is Why We Fight. (Nine minute clip available here; some scenes repeated in trailer.)

The latter film explores the military-industrial-congressional complex, the war machine and Vice President Dick Cheney’s lingering connections with Halliburton, the company he headed from 1995 until the summer of 2000. It points out many of his obvious attempts to mislead the American people regarding his financial ties and the conflicts of interest of epic proportions.

Richard Perle, former advisor to the Defense Policy Board from 1987 until 2004, came to Cheney’s defense in the clip.

The Halliburton thing is just an outrageous effort to associate the Vice President with the activities of a company at which he has no connection at all. No connection at all. … I know it, he wouldn’t do it.

In what sounds like a clip from an American news organization in the documentary, the voice says: "It now appears that some of those contracts were awarded with the knowledge and approval of the vice president’s office, which would seem to contradict his previous statements." [emphasis mine]

Now, since I recently finished Eric Boehlert’s book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, these blatant refusals to tell it like it is by inserting inconclusive language like "seems" really shows your "liberal media" at work. The partisan slant is so painfully obvious, they might as well say he eats babies and shoots 78-year old men in the face after mistaking them for a small, disabled bird.

"So we elected a government contractor as vice president," Charles Lewis, Center for Public Integrity says in the documentary. Comedian David Letterman, host of The Late Show with David Letterman, gave a quick rundown of Cheney’s nefarious actions including those regarding contracting, only to conclude that he is "just a big bowl of bad."

Speaking of a vested interest in Halliburton, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (LfL-Lieberman) loves playing that kind of runaround as he proved earlier this week. Lieberman was on television and said that his Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont, has stock in Halliburton, declaring, "I think when you get into public office today, you’ve got an obligation to the public to disclose, ah, all of your financial holdings," but as Jane pointed out, Holy Joe has his own "holdings" in Halliburton himself through his Victory Fund. Did he throw this out there as part of his obligation to the public? No. But that’s just another one of Lieberman’s Republican tendencies rearing its ugly head — projection. Hell, he’s already laying claim to victim status in the race. (Damn those anti-semitic liberal Jews! They are getting to be as bad a problem as those black-white supremacists you’re always hearing about.)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi provided this video of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) fighting the good fight, speaking on the House floor regarding war profiteers and their gross overcharging and defrauding the government. A quote provided by Pelosi from Waxman’s speech:

The decision to give these lucrative contracts to Halliburton has been expensive. According to Pentagon audits, Halliburton’s total, unreasonable and unsupported charges exceed $1.4 billion. Well, the examples of waste, fraud and abuse are numerous, Halliburton charged $45 for a case of soda, for a 15-pound bag of laundry. and when they had brand new $85,000 halliburton trucks, they abandoned them or torched them if they had a flat tire or experienced minor mechanical troubles. Halliburton is reimbursed for all of its costs and then receives an extra percentage as additional profit.

Apparently, there are videos of private contractors, some in firefights with insurgents in Iraq, available on YouTube as well. I won’t link to any but they are out there for those who are interested in seeing what their tax dollars are paying for, sans any kind of real accountability for the money or the operations they fund. One video was of Blackwater operating with helicopters in Iraq with rock from the 1970s playing in the background and camera work that is signature of skydiving videos. Also, there are scenes of what appear to be Blackwater employees just screwing around with munitions. It is like watching a bunch of frat boys in Mexico for Spring Break.

Almost $400 billion spent with little or no oversight. Over 2,500 U.S. killed. Nearly 20,000 permanently disfigured or maimed. Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead. The original war is forgotten. An expansion of the war looming on the horizon. A region less stable, our nation less safe and an administration constructing a fantasy world completely out of thin air.

When will this sick nightmare end?

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