Business of war

DICK Cheney, the United States vice-president, has some serious explaining to do. Despite months of firefighting and denying his involvement in Iraq oil deals, the controversy refuses to leave the vice-president alone, considered more powerful than the president himself. Time magazine, that highbrow pundit of US media, has reported that Cheney had played a key role in granting a huge contract to his old and infamous firm, Halliburton, for the reconstruction of Iraq’s oil industry.

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Published: Wed 2 Jun 2004, 11:27 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:27 AM

The Time report, based on Pentagon records, joins a steady stream of allegations of cronyism involving Cheney and Halliburton. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Houston-based company has won $17 billion in contracts to rebuild Iraq, reviving the controversy over Cheney’s role in pre- and post-Saddam Iraq. Cheney, who ran Halliburton for five years before he became George Bush’s vice-president in 2000, has maintained that he severed all links to the company when he entered public life. However, fresh reports prove it beyond doubt that Cheney had been intimately involved in awarding a multi-billion dollar contract for the rebuilding of Iraqi oil facilities.. The saga of Cheney’s association with Iraq oil and how he and his firm have plundered Iraq does not begin with the invasion of Iraq and fall of Saddam.

In fact, long before the invasion and during Cheney’s tenure as Halliburton chief, his firm raked in big bucks from dubious commercial dealings with the Saddam regime. Cheney left Halliburton with a $34 million retirement package when he became Bush’s running mate. Of course, US firms weren’t supposed to do business with Saddam. But thanks to legal loopholes large enough to steer an oil tanker through, Halliburton profited big-time from deals with the Iraqi dictator. It should be clear by now to everyone, if it wasn’t already, that slick Cheney’s oil interests might have inspired the Iraq invasion. This war was not about WMD; it was not about freeing Iraqis from Saddam’s yoke and it was not even about democracy and rights. Iraq’s invasion was inspired by the simple, pure and old-fashioned greed. The West’s eternal and imperial quest for riches led the ‘coalition of the willing’ to Iraq. This war had been all about business. And oily-wily, neocon Cheney presided over this plunder. And how!

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