Chef Cheney and His Dinner Guests

The U.S. military has never been known for the quality of its meals but Dick Cheney’s old company, Houston-based Brown & Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton) has given new meaning to the term “military cuisine.”

Within the past few weeks, U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait have fallen ill from food prepared by contractors working for Brown & Root, which interestingly enough, managed to get the contracts to perform various logistics services for U.S. troops engaged in both the “War on Terror” in Afghanistan and the “War on Iraq” in the Gulf region.

The latest incident occurred on December 11 at Oraifijan Camp, 35 miles south of Kuwait City. Over 250 soldiers, sailors, and airmen were sickened by food poisoning, 13 so severely they required hospitalization. The U.S. Army, using typical military jargon, said the troops fell victim to “a food-borne gastrointestinal illness.” Although the military inanely stated it was looking into the possibility of “terrorism,” the culprit is not any member of the Axis of Evil, but the company that Cheney once headed as Chief Executive Officer — Brown & Root.

But it’s not the first time that Chef Cheney’s catering company has launched a food offensive against U.S. troops. During the Thanksgiving Day meal at Bagram Air Base, the U.S. military headquarters near Kandahar, Afghanistan, over 100 U.S., Romanian, and other allied troops were sickened by Brown & Root’s turkey stuffing recipe. The troops, who are supposed to be on alert for Taliban and Al Qaeda operations, were out of commission for 24 hours.

Cheney and his wife Lynne recently held a holiday dinner for their well-heeled guests and political contributors at the Vice President’s residence in northwest Washington. While U.S. and allied troops prepare to fight the Bush/Cheney wars for new oil wells in Iraq and elsewhere and are forced to eat the slop that passes for food that is daily hurled on to their trays by Halliburton/Brown & Root hash slingers, we can all bet on one thing — Cheney’s dinner party was not catered by his old firm.

And one word of advice for U.S. military personnel around the world who have a choice between Brown & Root’s ptomaine tavern tents and local restaurants, tavernas, and cafes — stick to the food you don’t know rather than that you know.

One last observation — I once knew a short order cook who had the same crooked smile that has become Cheney’s hallmark. I am glad I never ate any food he cooked. And Mr. Cheney, leave me off the list of your next catered reception, just in case.

WAYNE MADSEN is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth.

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