(Reuters Photo) "Like a colonial power, the Bush admin took Iraq’s oil money, and wasted it,"
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket
fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are
not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."-- President Dwight
D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953.
Tragically, some of the architects of the Iraq War profited from the devastation
unleashed on Iraq following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. If their involvement
in this bloody war was treated as a criminal conspiracy, they would have been
tried and sent to jail. But the war in Iraq, where some people profit and make
blood-stained millions, is another story.
According to an article on Political Cortex, warmongers aren’t stopped
from selling their stories about their contribution to the Iraq War. On the
contrary, they are rewarded. Paul Wolfowitz was number two at the Pentagon,
where the war decisions were taken with his blessings and flawed wisdom. Now
he is the President of the World Bank, with a $300,000 tax-free annual salary.
But this salary wasn’t enough for this failed Pentagon adviser. They also
paid his country club dues and provided him also with a mortgage allowance.
If Wolfowitz's decisions are as bad as they were in the Iraq War, the World
Bank could be in big trouble.
Another important war profiteer is Tommy Ray Franks, a U.S. retired General
who led the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein and was commander-in-chief
of the American occupation forces. He is now collecting $5 million for his memoirs.
Reports say Camden Country, New Jersey authorities paid Franks $75,000 for one
speech. Also Paul Bremer, who led the Coalition Provisional Authority following
the invasion, gets as much as $40,000 per speech. He too received a $100,000
advance for his book. One must wonder what exactly can these people say about
the Iraq War debacle, except not to launch a war without proof.
A private in the U.S. Army gets $3,104.00 per month. A captain receives $3,637.00
a month. A one star general makes $12,809. Each category includes an extra $625
a month for combat pay.
Several analysts say that Iraq War certainly benefited construction, oil and
contract security businesses. A recent conference in Warsaw discussed the increasing
privatization of war, including the growth of private military firms in war
zones, especially in Iraq. These companies, accused by the International Committee
of the Red Cross of violating international humanitarian laws, are increasingly
taking over roles traditionally carried out by the military during war, in a
booming industry worth $100bn (£56bn) a year. U.S. army investigators
found that these firms were responsible for more than a third of prisoner abuses
at the Abu Ghraib prison. None of them has been prosecuted. Not quite civilians
nor soldiers, they fall under a legal grey area.
A handful of companies are already reaping the benefits from President Bush's
invasion of Iraq. Many Americans blame Halliburton unit KBR of trying to profit
from Iraq war, an adventure spurred on in large part by former Halliburton CEO
and current U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. KBR has several key defense contracts
in the war-torn country, including the massive open-ended master Iraq contract,
known as LogCAP III, plus mandates to restore Iraq's oil fields. KBR's five-year
financial data shows that revenues have exploded thanks to the post-9/11 wars,
from $5.1 billion in 2002 to $10.1 billion in 2005—about half of all Halliburton
revenues. The G&I business accounted for virtually all of the growth. The
unit accounted for 61 percent of the company's revenues in 2003 and 80 percent
of revenues in 2005. The Middle East alone accounted for $6 billion of KBR's
Although the U.S. blamed the failure of the reconstruction on the Iraqi resistance,
recent reports by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
show that the vast majority of projects were derailed through incompetence,
fraud and corruption. One of the many corruption cases revealed in Iraq is that
of U.S. businessman Philip Bloom who pled guilty in February to conspiracy,
bribery, and money laundering charges. He admitted to giving more than $2 million
in cash and gifts to U.S. officials in order to obtain Iraq reconstruction contracts
for companies he owns. Bloom could face up to 40 years in prison as part of
a plea bargain. Another individual, Robert Stein, a former top U.S. contracting
official in Iraq, also pled guilty to conspiring with Bloom and others to pocket
reconstruction funds. The Washington Post said Bloom and Stein were able to
exploit a "chaotic, freewheeling and cash-rich environment" in Iraq
following the U.S. invasion.
Another case, reported last month by the Los Angeles Times, involves Kimberly
Olson, one of the first U.S. female fighter pilots and a highly decorated air
force colonel. She was brought before a military tribunal on charges of using
her position to win more than $3 million in contracts for a private security
company with which she was associated. Olson was reprimanded and allowed to
resign from the Air Force with an honorable discharge and no reduction in rank.
She was also banned from receiving further government contracts for three years,
but is appealing the ban.
The Boston Globe on April 17 published another article that showed the extent
of the corruption in U.S.-occupied Iraq. Citing Congressional investigators,
the newspaper reported, "American contractors swindled hundreds of millions
of dollars in Iraqi funds." The article described how immediately after
the invasion, American officials seized Iraq’s oil revenues and money
found in bank accounts and placed the funds, totaling some $20.7 billion, in
an account called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI). This money was then doled
out to contractors, mainly U.S. firms, without the benefit of elementary controls
or accounting procedures.
Commenting on the effect of the massive theft of Iraqi wealth, Alan Grayson,
a Virginia attorney involved in filing lawsuits against contractors, said: "Like
a colonial power, the Bush administration took Iraq’s oil money, and wasted
it. The Iraqis well know that. That’s one reason why they’re shooting
at U.S. soldiers."
Those who personally profited from the U.S.-led war against Iraq got
the money over the dead bodies of over 100,000 Iraqis. The several
corruption scandals that have been revealed are not mere aberrations or incidental
products of the invasion. Rather, they reflect the criminal essence of an unprovoked
imperialist war based on provocations and lies and launched for the purpose
of seizing oil resources and gaining strategic advantage over rival powers.
"The U.S. is rushing to open Iraq to a flood of outside corporate interests,
before the country's own government can take power," said Chris Kromm,
director of the non-profit Institute for Southern Studies, the initiator of
the Stop the War Profiteers Campaign. "If the Iraq war was really about
democracy, why won't they wait and let the Iraqi people decide what to do with