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Cheney, Halliburton & the roots of our current malaise

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posted on Feb, 20 2004 @ 08:32 AM
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Excellent article, well researched and an eye opener for someone like me who thought I knew the timeline. I had heard the interview with the author last night on NPR while coming home from the station.

excerpts:

"Instead of returning to graduate school, Cheney got a job as the deputy for a brash congressional colleague of Steiger’s, Donald Rumsfeld, whom Richard Nixon had appointed to head the Office of Economic Opportunity. The O.E.O., which had played a prominent role in Johnson’s War on Poverty, was not favored by Nixon. According to Dan Guttman, who co-wrote “The Shadow Government” (1976), Rumsfeld and Cheney diminished the power of the office by outsourcing many of its jobs. Their tactics were not subtle. At nine o’clock on the morning of September 17, 1969, Rumsfeld distributed a new agency phone directory; without explanation, a hundred and eight employee names had been dropped. The vast majority were senior career civil servants who had been appointed by Democrats.

The purging of the office was a mixed success. Bureaucratic resistance stymied Cheney and Rumsfeld on several fronts. But by the time Ronald Reagan became President the overriding principle that had guided their actions at the O.E.O.—privatization—had become a central precept of the conservative movement. "

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"For most of the eighties, Cheney served in the House of Representatives. In 1988, after the election of George H. W. Bush, he was named Secretary of Defense. The end of the Cold War brought with it expectations of a “peace dividend,” and Cheney’s mandate was to reduce forces, cut weapons systems, and close military bases. Predictably, this plan met with opposition from every member of Congress whose district had a base in peril."

( Poster's Note: See kiddies, now stop blaming Bill Clinton for hobbling the military!! )

...“contrary to his public image, which was as a reasonable, quiet, soft-spoken, and inclusive personality, Cheney was a rank partisan.” The aide said that Cheney practiced downsizing as political jujitsu. He once compiled a list of military bases to be closed; all were in Democratic districts. Cheney’s approach to cutting weapons systems was similar: he proposed breathtaking cuts in the districts of Thomas Downey, David Bonior, and Jim Wright, all high-profile Democrats. The aide told me that Congress, which was then dominated by the Democrats, beat back most of Cheney’s plans, because many of the cuts made no strategic sense. “This was about getting even,” he said of Cheney.

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"As Defense Secretary, Cheney developed a contempt for Congress, which, a friend said, he came to regard as “a bunch of annoying gnats.” Meanwhile, his affinity for business deepened. “The meetings with businessmen were the ones that really got him pumped,” a former aide said. One company that did exceedingly well was Halliburton. Toward the end of Cheney’s tenure, the Pentagon decided to turn over to a single company the bulk of the business of planning and providing support for military operations abroad—tasks such as preparing food, doing the laundry, and cleaning the latrines. As Singer writes in “Corporate Warriors,” the Pentagon commissioned Halliburton to do a classified study of how this might work. In effect, the company was being asked to create its own market."

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There are some hundred and thirty-five thousand American troops in Iraq, but Gardiner estimated that there would be as many as three hundred thousand if not for private contractors. He said, “Think how much harder it would have been to get Congress, or the American public, to support those numbers.”


www.newyorker.com...







[Edited on 20-2-2004 by Bout Time]




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