Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Nation gives advice to Edwards...


If Edwards brings Halliburton up during his Tuesday night face-off with Cheney in Cleveland, the Vice President will undoubtedly claim--as he has whenever he's been challenged--that he no longer has any connection with Halliburton. Edwards can counter with another of those blunt Trumanisms: "liar." The Vice President continues to receive money from Halliburton--$178,437 in 2003 alone--and a Congressional Research Service study has described the sort of deferred-salary payments he receives and the millions in stock options he retains as "among those benefits described by the Office of Government Ethics as 'retained ties' or 'linkages' to one's former employer." In other words, Cheney has a great big conflict of interest, and pounding away on it will go a long way toward exposing the crony capitalism that has been a hallmark of the Bush Administration.

And that explains the morass in Iraq, as I've said before: it's a hedge strategy designed for no other purpose but to have Halliburton and like minded companies make money, first and foremost. Forget about "terrorism" and "democracy," and even just oil.

If Iraq is pacified, Halliburton makes money from oil service contracts; if Iraq continues to be unstable, Haliburton makes money from defense contracts. The only losing scenarios for Halliburton is either a really independent Iraq that kicks out the US, a recognition by Americans that Iraq has become a "Charlie Foxtrot," and America pulls out, or a Kerry victory that investigates Cheney with more than the relish of Clinton's sex life.

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