Saturday :: Sep 16, 2006

The War Profiteers

by Mary

The WaPo article that Steve linked today talks about one of the grievous errors that Bush committed during his Presidency.

The decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors.

Yet when it comes to rating the gravest errors that this administration has committed, one must seriously look at how they have sold the country down the river for the benefit of the war profiteers. Because every week the profiteers continue to bleed our country dry for their ill-gotten gains.

Fortunately, this story will finally get the airtime needed to let the American people see how outrageous and how criminal it truly is. Because, Robert Greenwald's latest viral-marketing documentary, Iraq for Sale, is ready to be spread throughout the land. This documentary tells the tale of four of the worst of the profiteers including Halliburton and its subsidiary, KBR (formally Kellogg-Brown and Root), CAIC, an IT company who decided to make some profits by providing interrogators and translators who wound up working at Abu Ghraib during the worst of the scandal, L3 Titan who also provided interrogators and translators for Abu Ghraib and the infamous Blackwater USA who provides a private army for the dirty war. They all have starring roles in the incredible Iraq for Sale.

Watch the trailer

Recently Ken Silverstein wondered how did Blackwater, formed just a few years ago, get to be so successful. What he found was a cozy relationship between the Republican party and the founder of Blackwater, Eric Prince, and a revolving door from the company to the CIA and back.

How did Blackwater rise so high, so fast? The “war on terrorism” got the ball rolling for the firm, but one suspects that political connections played a big part as well. Erik Prince, Blackwater's founder, is a former SEAL who is deeply involved in Republican Party politics. Since 1998, he has funneled roughly $200,000 to GOP committees and candidates, including President Bush. In 2004, Blackwater retained the Alexander Strategy Group, the PR and lobbying firm that closed down earlier this year due to its embarrassing ties to Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay. (Paul Behrends, a former national security adviser to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, handled the account for Alexander. After the firm shut down, Behrends moved on to a firm called C&M Capitolink, and took the Blackwater account with him.)

A number of senior CIA and Pentagon officials have taken top jobs at Blackwater, including firm vice chairman Cofer Black, who was the Bush Administration's top counterterrorism official at the time of the 9/11 attacks (and who famously said in 2002, “There was before 9/11 and after 9/11. After 9/11, the gloves came off.”) Robert Young Pelton, author of the new book, Licensed to Kill, says that an early Blackwater contract—a secret no-bid $5.4 million deal with the CIA—came in 2002 after Prince placed a call to Buzzy Krongard, who was then the CIA's executive director.

A CIA source with whom I spoke said that Prince is very tight with top agency officials and has a “green badge,” the security pass for contractors who have access to CIA installations. “He's over there [at CIA headquarters] regularly, probably once a month or so,” this person told me. “He meets with senior people, especially in the D.O.” (The D.O., or Directorate of Operations, runs covert operations; last year, it was absorbed by the newly created National Clandestine Service.)

What does it say about our government that billions can be paid to the companies for a profit, when our soldiers can't get the armor they need nor the healthcare needed after fighting in Bush's war. Although Bush likes to talk about how he is a war president, what he shows is that he puts profits above the well-being of our soldiers at all times.

What to do in the face of such corruption? Well, you can buy the DVD, host a screening for your family, friends and neighbors, support the members of Congress who are sponsoring hearings into this story, and most of all, make sure to let everyone you know that you've had enough of Bush backing the profiteers rather than the American public and our troops.

Mary :: 9:15 PM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!