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How Much Are You Making on the War, Daddy?: A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Profiteering in the Bush Administration Paperback – December 26, 2003
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He shows how Rumsfeld might have alerted Carlyle Group CEO Frank Carlucci about the planned cancellation of one of it's subsidiary's programs to build the Crusader artillery system. Several months before the cancellation, Carlyle suddenly put the subsidiary on the stock market so that it might draw in shareholders and took out a huge loan based on the inflation of the value of the subsidiary and distributed it to shareholders and execs. Carlyle is of course the group which George Bush Sr. advises and whose executive James Baker and his law firm are representing the Saudi royal family against the families of 9-11 victims.
Rumsfeld was on the board of the Swiss engineering firm ABB for years.. That firm made the contract to oversee the construction of North Korea's two light water nuclear reactors. North Korea of course is one of the reasons we have to spend 400 billion on defense according to people like Rumsfeld who of course advocates that the reactor deal shouldn't have been made. . Rumsfeld claimed ludicrously to know nothing about the deal. Of all the ABB board members, all but one, who insisted on anonymity refused to talk to a Fortune magazine reporter about Rumsfeld and this deal. Rumsfeld is obviously very feared, the author notes.
He discusses the deal that had the Pentagon be leased a hundred Boeing commercial aircraft to be transformed into aerial refueling tankers. And it seems from documents released by John McCain's office that Darleen Dryun, Airforce undersecretary, gave Boeing the details of its rival Airbus's bid for the project. Dryun then quit her Pentagon job to become a top official of Boeing's Missile Defense division. The author discusses the none-too subtle campaign contributions made to Senator Ted Stevens, Senate appropriations chair just before this deal was put through.
The author notes that Richard Perle, while head of the Defense policy board, used that position to try to lobby some rich Saudis into investing in his new security oriented firm, Trieme. Perle claimed that he wanted to talk about Iraq, but his interlocutor in the deal, Adnan Koshoggi of Iran-Contra fame, only mentioned in his message to the Saudis about investing in Trieme. Then Stephen Laboton of the New York Times revealed that Perle offered his services to the bankrupt telecom firm Global Crossing to influence the U.S. government to allow it to sell one of its firms to China, which is not allowed to receive U.S. high tech resources. Perle advertised himself in his affidavit to Global Crossing as someone with great insider connections because of his post. Perle insisted that this affidavit was a clerical error. He tried to use his influence to allow Loral to resume selling high tech satellite stuff to China. According to Hirsch none of Perle's fellow board members knew of the existence of Trieme and were quite upset about it.
Then there's the redoubtable Mr. Cheney and Halliburton. After going through the motions of competitive bidding under public pressure, the army corp of Engineers suddenly accelerated the schedule for work in Iraq's oil infrastructure so that Halliburton would be the best placed firm to do that under the schedule, it already being in Iraq as a result of a no bid contract to put out oil fires. Cheney receives hundreds of thousands in "deferred compensation" from the company. He denied any remaining "ties' with the firm but his spokesperson, accoding to the author, said that the deferred payment technically did not constitute a "tie."
The author notes one of the more blatantly questionable appointments in the present administration, former Lockheed Martin executive Everett Beckner being picked to oversee the Nevada Nuclear test site, which Lockheed partly runs. Many Bush officials sit on the board of groups like the Center for Security Policy run by Frank Gafney Jr. Gafney dosen't seem to think his intellectual integrity is compromised by his group being funded by the arms companies who stand to make huge profits with the policies he advocates. The author cites some statistics about the dramatic rise in CEO pay since 9-11. He points out that Lockheed Martin's annual income from government contracts is more than that for the top Federal program for the poor. The Leave No Child Behind Program is being underfunded by 10 billion.
About 800 million in taxpayer money was used to subsidize the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta, supposedly to encourage these two firms to consolidate, making them more efficient. This Clinton administration encouraged merging has left a few big firms in control of the arms market and with this oligopoly are in an even better position to easily get expensive contracts from the government. The merging-consolidation has also encouraged defense worker layoffs as this impresses shareholders that the firm is trying to become efficient.
The problem, as Hartung points out, is that both parties get into bed with corporations by accepting huge donations for political races and return the favor via legislation changes, special considerations, and other questionable, if not downright unethical, methods. The intertwining of boardrooms, Washington appointments, lucrative contracts, and political campaign money forces taxpayers to cough up billions each year (and well into the future). Yet many of these global conglomerates pay a fraction of their fair share of taxes by establishing offshore tax shelters.
The coziness of Wall Street and the Pentagon leads to enormous opportunities for abuse such as no-bid contracts, a topic so recently in the news in the current war on Iraq. And guess who pays? Look in the mirror my friends.
While I'm not sure I'd recommend this book as the final word on the topic, I'd say it was a good starting place, particularly if you are interested in the current administrations octopus-like ties to global corporations. If you can put aside the labels "Democrat" and "Republican" for a while, you might get worked up a little about how your tax dollars are being abused on a daily basis and start lobbying your Congressional representatives about PACs and other questionable funding strategies.
The people who profit from the misery of others (and in most cases, cause it to begin with) are hideous jackals that no decent society should tolerate. If you feel this book is "Bush Bashing" then you need to inhale deep of the air of reality- Bush and his henchmen are "bashed" because they are immoral, soulless ghouls who KILL PEOPLE FOR PROFIT.
Clear enough? Read the book.