Tuesday, June 16, 2015

We paid WHO? (part 2 of 4 War Questions)

Megyn Kelly (Fox “News”) interview with Dick Cheney, June 19, 2014:

Cheney had stated about the Obama presidency, "Rarely has a president been so wrong about so much."

"But time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir," Kelly said. "You said there was no doubt Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction; you said we would be greeted as liberators; you said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005; and you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, 'rethink their strategy of jihad.' Now, with almost a trillion dollars spent there, with 4,500 American lives lost there, what do you say to those who say you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?"

"No, I just fundamentally disagree, Megyn," said Cheney. "You've got to go back and look at the track record.”

Wow!! If Fox “News” is calling out a Republican figurehead you know there is something very, very disturbing going on. As Cheney recommends, let's take a look at his track record. 

"Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world . . . It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. . . . (H)ow many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right." - Dick Cheney explaining his reasons for not advocating an invasion of Iraq following the first Gulf War, 1994

I’m going start a little farther back on the governmental track record. 

During the US involvement in Vietnam, the Defense Department’s construction projects started at $15 million per month in 1964 and increased to $67 million per month by 1967. 

In 1966, Illinois Representative Donald H. Rumsfeld charged the administration with providing political contributors with fraudulent contracts. "Why this huge contract has not been and is not now being adequately audited is beyond me. The potential for waste and profiteering under such a contract is substantial." 

December 20, 1983 

The White House in Sept 2002 estimated the cost of the war as $100 to $200 Billion. 

Donald Rumsfeld demanded a new calculation and the revised Jan 2003 estimate was $50 to $60 Billion. 

The actual cost as of 2014 has been $1.7 trillion with an estimated cost of $4 to $6 Trillion with Veteran care.

"There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that's just a fact." - Donald Rumsfeld

You know someone has to be making bank off that $1.7 trillion.

“The new administration seems to be paying no attention to the problem of terrorism. What they will do is stagger along until there’s a major incident and then suddenly say, `Oh, my God, shouldn’t we be organized to deal with this?’ ” - L. Paul Bremmer III (became head of Iraq occupation), Feb. 26, 2001


CEO Dwight M. Williams, former Chief Security Officer of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

$1.44 billion for training the Iraqi police force. 

"Without specific goals, objectives and performance measures, the PDP (Police Development Program) could become a 'bottomless pit' for U.S. dollars intended for mentoring, advising and training the Iraqi police forces." - U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction 

"It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army. Hard to imagine." –Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul, testifying before the House Budget Committee prior to the Iraq war, Feb. 27, 2003 

International American Products

Chaired by former Treasury secretary John W. Snow and headed by two former executives of KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary. 

$120 million contract to maintain and operate Walter Reed facilities (but submitted a requirement of increase funds for an additional $16 million.) 

Became a national scandal in 2007 for 5 ½ years of deplorable care.

$759 million contract to run electrical wiring in war zones. 

"I can tell you this: If I’m ever in a position to call the shots, I’m not going to rush to send somebody else’s kids into a war." - George H W Bush


Controlled by financier Richard Blum who is married to Senator Dianne Feinstein. Senator Feinstein had a seat on the Military Construction Appropriations Committee. 

$650 million for environmental cleanup

“Liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.” Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, Feb. 13, 2002


$540 million for construction projects including 150 health care centers. 
After using almost all the contract funds, they completed 6 centers and started construction on 135 clinics. 

Using a different contractor, 121 centers were constructed for $36 million. 

Best known for constructing the Baghdad police academy where sewage leaked through the roof.

“Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.” - Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary

Halliburton’s KBR, Inc.
CEO Dick Cheney from 1995 to 2000 

Secretary of Defense under Bush Sr. from 1989 to 1993

$39.5 billion 2003-2013, construction and maintenance of military bases, oil field repairs, and various infrastructure rebuilding projects.

"Go f— yourself" – Dick Cheney to Sen. Patrick Leahy, during an angry exchange on the
Senate floor about profiteering by Halliburton, June 25, 2004

"That's sort of the best thing I ever did" – Dick Cheney, reflecting on telling Leahy to "go 
f— yourself," interview with Dennis Miller, April 22, 2010


CEO Erik Prince 

Received an illegal sub-contract from Halliburton after Halliburton agreed to only use military forces for security 

Admits to a secret relationship with the CIA and carried out "security" missions on request by the CIA. 

$500 million 2001-2007 to provide security 

“Five days or five months, but it certainly isn’t going to last longer.”
 - Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, Nov. 15, 2002

Blackwater was renamed Academi and became a subsidiary International Development Solutions. $92 million contract for State Department security guards 2013

Part of eight security firms with a shared $10 Billion contract for continued security for diplomats in the Baghdad embassy

“The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason, but — hold on one second… [Interrupted by DOD attorney].”
 Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary, May 09, 2003

Carlyle Group

investing firm worth $1.3 billion after Bush Sr. was hired to coordinated Saudi Arabia investors.

Bush Sr. secured investments from the Bin Laden Group.

The Carlyle Group is the 11th largest defense contractor in America.
 It has investments in over 300 companies that derive revenues from military and security contracts. 

$677 million in government contracts, 2002

$2.1 billion in government contracts, 2003 

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this … the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”
- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Defense Secretary, March 27, 2003

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”
- Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve through 2005. (from The Age of Turbulence) Sept. 2008 

One more example of despicable war profiteering? I have to go back to the war in Vietnam and I think these are companies you already know and love. 

Agent Orange 

The toxic defoliate was brought to us by our friends at Monsanto and Dow Chemical. 

In 1993, the VA had compensated 486 veterans for Agent Orange and denied or ignored 39,419 additional claims. 

In 1984 the chemical companies settled out of court, agreeing to pay $180 million. Per disabled veteran, that would result in $12,000 distributed over 10 years. Widows would be entitled to a payout of $3,700.

Recall how much the US government ended up paying per enemy kill in Vietnam? $140,000. 

$3 million was allocated for Vietnam "clean up". Estimated cost $60 million. Efforts to clean up did not start until 2012.

A recent change in policy, increasing access to funds for Agent Orange exposure for veterans and for Vietnamese, will cost $42 Billion.

Some irony? In 2015 Monsanto was ordered to pay $93 million to the residents of a small town in West Virginia where the Monsanto factory was located. The settlement does not preclude individual residents from seeking additional compensation. 

An additional bit of love for our favorite chemical company? Dow Chemical also manufactured napalm. 

Back to Dick Cheney's track record. Probably prolonging the enviable but Uncle Dick, did you not learn from the interview with 

Megyn Kelly?

I Haven’t Read CIA Torture Report but It’s Full of Crap 

Fox “news” Bret Baier interview with Dick Cheney
Dec 10, 2014

“I think it’s a terrible piece of work, basically, it seems to me it’s deeply flawed, they didn’t bother to interview key people involved in the problem. . . . (I) think that it’s sort of a classic example which you see too often in Washington where politicians get together and sort of throw the professionals under the bus.”

“I think he (President Bush) knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program.” Cheney denying that Bush was kept in the dark by the CIA. 

When referring to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the “mastermind” of 9/11, “What are we supposed to do, kiss him on both cheeks and say ‘please, please tell us what you know?’ Of course not!”

When Baier pointed out that the report claims the torture techniques were not successful in extracting the information that ultimately led to Osama bin Laden’s hiding place, Cheney shot back, “The report is full of crap!” 

“I don’t know the specific details, I’m sure there were instances cited in the report, I haven’t read the report, but I know for a fact —”

At that point, Baier cut him off. “Now wait, you haven’t read it?” 

“All 6,000 pages? No,” Cheney said, before clarifying that he has read “parts of it” and “summaries.” 

"Meet the Press" interview with Dick Cheney on CIA Torture Report 
Dec 10, 2014

“I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.” 
“We were very careful to stop short of torture.” 
“I would do it again in a minute.” 

"The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned when I first heard those words." - Donald Rumsfeld, 2015 

Did you miss the first post about the cost of war?

Next up, the human cost of war.


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