The United States of Halliburton


Over the weekend (when the Bush Administration is at its most nefarious because most of America is preoccupied with getting drunk at barbeques or running from hurricanes), the Pentagon demoted the Army contracting official who criticized massive, noncompetitive contracts that Halliburton received for the reconstruction of Iraq.

The move demonstrates, to paraphrase the Administration’s tired mantra on fighting terror, that “we will move heaven and earth to find a low-level minion to blame for every gargantuan screw-up we commit.”

It’s easy to see why the Pentagon is singling out Bunnatine H. Greenhouse for punishment over her criticism of Halliburton. The woman is surely in the grips of a full-blown fantasy.

After all, Halliburton hasn’t been so bad. To date, there have been just a few glancing blows against its performance. The Pentagon Inspector General concluded that its record keeping was so bad they couldn’t even determine whether contractual obligations were fulfilled. The Defense Department’s criminal unit is investigating its activities. The FBI is checking whether Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary illegally received military contracts and the GAO has found “multiple” contract abuses.

If that’s all they got, this Greenhouse woman is full of gas, nitpicking. Looking to cause a fuss. They shouldn’t just demote her, they ought to investigate members of her family and whisper bad things to the press on “double super secret background.

All this perturbation over a good American firm formerly run by our very own Vice President Cheney has got my patriotic hackles cackling. Apart from overcharging taxpayers $55.1 million for feeding troops, they’ve been great corporate citizens.

In fact, Halliburton has a whole Web page devoted to “corporate governance” and they say right up front that “The Board of Directors believes that the primary responsibility of the Directors is to provide effective governance over Halliburton’s affairs for the benefit of its stockholders.”

Wait a second, “benefit of its stockholders?” What about the troops and the taxpayers and the Iraqis and Bunnatine H. Greenhouse?

That’s the problem–they are not Halliburton stockholders. But in every cesspool there dwells an opportunity to fertilize a flower bed. And this gives the Muse an idea.

I checked the ticker and Halliburton (which trades under the kindly name of Hal) is going for $58.06 per share. With the help of my loyal readers, I am going to raise the cash and buy me a share so I, too, can be the beneficiary of all the benefits bestowed by the Board.

And then we’ll launch the Mother-of-all-Taxpayer-Funded-Reconstruction Projects: “Operation Muse Townhouse Restoration.”

I’m going to get my hot water tank up-armored, procure one of those boffo camouflaged tents for the backyard and stock it with 10,000 Meals Ready to Eat for me and my feline shareholders Hansel and Gretel. Might even get me one of those UAF drones to show-up the model aircraft geeks down at the factory parking lot.

It’s my patriotic duty as a shareholder in the United States of Halliburton, and no sacrifice is too great to get everything I can get. And if Bunnatine H. Greenhouse gets in my way, I’ll have her counting spare parts at an Arctic Air Force base.

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