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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 9 January 2007
Monty Python's Terry Jones rips into US $500B Iraq war folly
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: election Oz 2007

Editor: What does this opinion piece, from the Left but as brutal in effect as the condemnations of neocon Perle et al from the Right in Vanity Fair, have to say about our own Prime Miniature John Howard's unquestioning loyalty to Georg W Bush's incompetent war in Iraq, when anyone who has been watching knows it was actually Libya that had the secret nukes via AQ Khan in Pakistan, and not Iraq?

Libya who then gave up said nukes to Britain and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency after they saw what happened to Iraq from the USA blind fury (emphasis on blind) with no Osama Bin Laden to punish for criminal leadership behind the bombing via hostage airliners of the World Trade Centre in Sept 2001: Libya that walks away all at the expense of the USA electorate as detailed here by Terry Jones, and of course the badly suffering little people of Iraq.

No wonder the ascendant US Democrats are talking no compromise rhetoric about getting out. Over to Terry Jones via contributor Maireid Sullivan:

Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python www.terry-jones.net

They have made a killing: The US has spent a million dollars for every dead Iraqi - is that what they mean by value for money?

Terry Jones

Saturday January 6, 2007 The Guardian

Early this year the Bush administration is to ask Congress to approve an
additional $100bn for the onerous task of making life intolerable for
the Iraqis. This will bring the total spent on the White House's current
obsession with war to almost $500bn - enough to have given every US
citizen $1,600 each. I wonder which the voters would have gone for if
given the choice: shall we (a) give every American $1,600 or (b) spend
the money on bombing a country in the Middle East that doesn't use
lavatory paper?

Of course, there's another thing that George Bush could have done with
the money: he could have given every Iraqi $18,700. I imagine that would
have reduced the threat of international terrorism somewhat. Call me
old-fashioned, but I can't help thinking that giving someone $18,700
brings them round to your side more quickly than bombing the hell out of
them. They could certainly buy a lot of lavatory paper with it.

In 2002 the house budget committee and the congressional budget office
both guesstimated the cost of invading Iraq at approximately $50bn;
$500bn seems a bit wide of the mark. What's more, with over half a
million dead, it means that the world's greatest military superpower has
spent a million dollars for every Iraqi killed. That can't be value for

So how on earth could such a vast overspend occur? After all, the US is
the flagship of monetary common sense. Well, for starters, in 2003 the
White House refused to allow competitive bidding for contracts in Iraq,
which is odd for the champions of free enterprise. Then the White House
ensured there would be no overseeing of what was spent. In the original
Iraq spending bill, which earmarked the first $87bn to go down the
drain, there was a provision for the general accounting office to keep a
check on things, but that provision was stripped from the bill - even
though the Senate had originally voted for it 97 to 0.

But what I want to know is: how do they actually spend all that money?
Well the answer is: they don't. According to the website
Halliburtonwatch, the Halliburton subsidiary KBR bills the US taxpayer
for $50-$80 per day for labourers working for it in Iraq, but pays them
only $5-$16 per day. It's the same with Halliburton. In December 2003
the US army discovered that the company had overcharged by $61m for fuel
transportation and $67m for food services in Iraq.

Then there is good old-fashioned incompetence. Take the al-Fatah
pipeline: KBR went through $75.7m of taxpayers' money, supposedly trying
to replace a pipeline across the river Tigris that US forces had blown
up. They never finished the job, but still got paid.

With all this double-dealing and incompetence, you'd expect that those
responsible would have been penalised by now. But that's where the
mystery deepens. Companies such as Halliburton and its subsidiaries have
never had it so good. In January 2006 the Bush administration intervened
in a dispute between the Pentagon and Halliburton, and agreed to pay the
company $199m in disputed charges. On January 26 2006 Halliburton
announced that its 2005 profits were the "best in our 86-year history".
And to date KBR has received around $16bn from its contracts in Iraq.

Vice-President Dick Cheney, formerly CEO of Halliburton, has not had a
bad war either. His tax returns for 2005 show that he earned $194,862
from his Halliburton stock options alone. Mind you, it's small change
compared to his $36m payoff when he left the firm. Was that for his past
role, or was Halliburton anticipating further services from the future
vice-president of the US? Perhaps it's just as well that in 2003 the
White House removed from the Iraq spending bill any provision to
penalise war profiteers who defrauded US taxpayers.

· Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python www.terry-jones.net

Posted by editor at 10:19 AM EADT

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