Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: <i>Your tax dollars at work</i> .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Your tax dollars at work

Halliburton, Army end dispute over meal bills

Halliburton and the U.S. Army have come to an agreement on their two year long dispute of $200 million in invoices resulting from the invasion of Iraq. If you recall, Halliburton was awarded a no-bid contract by the Bush Administration because they were the only company in the world capable of handling the huge task of logistical support of the war in Iraq (according to the party line).

This $200 million is only a small fraction of the $1.2 billion Halliburton was paid to run the dining halls during the first nine months of the war. At those prices, you'd think they were running the concession at a sports arena.

In dispute was the fact that Halliburton's subcontractors only provided 14,053 meals per day to soldiers, while their contract called for them to be prepared to serve at least 42,042 meals per day. The contractor billed the 42,042 as a minimum. I just hope they served all of the remaining food to hungry Iraqis, and didn't just use it for the next day's 14,053, thereby pocketing millions ($200 million, if you're counting) at the expense of the American taxpayer.

Anyway, the settlement they reached has the U.S. Army paying $145 million of those disputed bills, and Halliburton eating $55 million. Well actually, their contractors will eat the loss, since Halliburton hasn't paid those contractors yet, and Halliburton will only be out their 15% mark-up. So they're getting $8.25 million less than the $30 million profit they would have made on the bogus charges had no one bothered to check on them.

And this is just for "chow hall" services. There's still the grand jury investigation of the $1 million kickback paid to a Halliburton procurement manager in exchange for awarding services to a subcontractor, and the audit that showed that Halliburton charged the Pentagon $27.5 million for $82,100 worth of fuel.

After all this, if you still think that Halliburton was chosen for this contract because they were the only company that could perform this service, and that it had nothing to do with the fact that Dick Cheney used to run the company, then you, my friend, have been succesfully conditioned by the Bush Administration's spin machine.

If, however, you can think on your own, can see that we taxpayers are being taken to the cleaners by the FOB (Friends of Bush), then welcome to the Monkey House. There's hope for you yet.

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