Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

Why Bunny Greenhouse Sits in a Corner


Bunnatine Greenhouse sits in a cubicle in a far corner of an office in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers(USACE) headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., where, she says, “I am treated like a non-person.” Months crawl by yet her immediate supervisor just can’t seem to find the time to meet with her to discuss a work assignment. The taxpayers of the United States of America pay her salary, but, oddly, no demands are made of her.

That’s a sad plight for a dynamic woman executive who is the cover girl of the July/August issue of “Fraud Magazine.” She’s not written up for being on the wrong side of the law, only on the wrong side of the Bush White House, now a law unto itself. “Fraud” is published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and Ms. Greenhouse is the recipient of the association’s coveted 2006 Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award. She’s been showered with honors and the subject of laudatory press. In another America in another time, an Administration might well have been proud of her.

Instead, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has trashed the American Dream of this African-American woman who rose by her own bootstraps from poverty in Rayville, La., to become the highest U.S. contracting civilian in USACE. Hers was the responsibility for passing on $23-billion in contracts annually. A personnel file stuffed with gold star evaluations attests to her zealous guardianship of the public’s money.

So why is the woman everyone calls “Bunny” made to sit in a corner, punished like a spoiled child? As she told “Fraud” editor Dick Carozza, it’s over her refusal to sign off on billions of dollars worth of no-bid, no-compete contracts that are enriching Halliburton Corp., the government contractor previously headed by Vice President Richard Cheney.

In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root(KBR) was named sole source contractor for the Restore Oil Contract, a contingency plan to douse any oil well fires that might break out. Greenhouse discovered there were other bidders qualified to do the job besides KBR.

KBR officials showed up at a USACE planning session on the award when none of their competitors were allowed in the door. After KBR presented its planning update, the session continued over other budget projections that could clearly give KBR insider knowledge of future Iraq campaign operations. Greenhouse wanted KBR out of the room. It’s a conflict of interest to have a prospective award recipient involved in the planning stages for missions not yet officially announced, she said.

Greenhouse’s worst fears were realized when KBR, in an action mocking the competitive bidding process, got a no-bid, five-year award when a one-year contract would have sufficed in an “emergency.” Greenhouse penned her reservations directly on the contract documents. Otherwise, she said, “there would have been a major risk the five-year strategy never would have been revisited, and no follow-up on limited competition would have been instituted as promised to the American public.”

Under the original contract Greenhouse was asked to sign, even if Halliburton fouled up, it couldn’t be dumped. After she cried foul, she was demoted from her top contracts’ oversight job in the Senior Executive Service to a mere program manager.

It should be noted, before the Halliburton rip-off, Greenhouse single-handedly wrought a revolution in the Defense Base Act insurance law that saved the Pentagon $20-million in its first six months of operation. Over time, her action may save taxpayers hundreds of millions spent on insurance premiums to cover military contractors working abroad.

Looking back, Greenhouse says, “I was never accused of having engaged in any act of impropriety. I was never called on the carpet to defend my actions or inactions for any business judgment I made during the contracting process.”

Three Congressional Democrats wrote Rumsfeld asking if it wasn’t a fact Greenhouse’s demotion was retaliatory. The Defense boss, so eager to bring justice to the people of Iraq, did not deign to respond about injustice in his own office. Now, Greenhouse says, every action toward her is designed to inflict as much humiliation as possible.

Greenhouse told “Fraud” she is proud to be called a whistle-blower. (She’s got a plaque from the Giraffe Society for people who stick their necks out to show for it.) She defines this as one who “exposes government and corporate misconduct, violations of the law, threats to the public safety, or actions that violate the law.” And she concludes with words Mr. Rumsfeld might underline: “Integrity in government is not an option: it is an imperative.” Being a true American, she plans to sue.

Absent the honest oversight of bunny Greenhouse, Iraq has become what one official who served there called “a free-fraud zone.” Billions, not millions of dollars, likely have been stolen from both the Iraqi and American peoples.

In the words of Rep. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.): “The largest single recipient of Development Fund for Iraq funds was Halliburton. The company vastly overcharged to import gasoline into Iraq and to provide other oil-related services. These overcharges, which exceed $200-million, were billed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But U.S. officials arranged for over 80% of them to be paid out of the DFI.”

And this undoubtedly explains why Bunny Greenhouse sits in a corner: it’s to keep her out of the way. Come to think of it, if contracts are rigged to shut out Halliburton’s competitors, can you imagine how the Bush White House rigs contracts to sell Iraq’s oil?

The Greenhouse affair reminds me of the old Chaplin comedy set in Nazi Germany when a man who being set upon by the Gestapo yells he is going to call the police. It’s just as hilarious for Bunny Greenhouse to expect legal contract regulations to be observed by a Pentagon waging an illegal war of aggression. The motivation of the totalitarian state is, after all, greed: greed first, greed last, greed always, and nothing less than greed.

SHERWOOD ROSS writes for newspapers and magazines. Reach him at



More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians