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I for one am not going to fuss about Halliburton moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai on the sunny coast of the Persian Gulf.
It makes sense, and it makes things so much clearer, too.
Halliburton, recall, is the company that has made the most money of any private enterprise off of the Iraq War–$27 billion to date, most of it in the form of extraordinarily profitable no-bid contracts (the company earned a record $2.3 billion last year alone). It is also Vice President Dick Cheney’s company. He headed it for five years before deciding to go into “public service” as President Bush’s regent in 2001, and he continued to receive compensation from the company, and to hold options for Halliburton stock well into his vice presidency, refusing even to put his holdings into a blind trust, as wealthy political figures normally do to ensure that they don’t make decisions based upon considerations of personal gain.
Before, there was always the old argument that “what’s good for Halliburton is good for America.” That line may have been hokey when it was first uttered with regard to General Motors by then GM chairman Charles Wilson, and it is surely hokey today, but it can lead to some confusion among Americans still in thrall to the corporate creed.
But with Halliburton now a Dubai corporation, with its tax obligations now owed to the Dubai Revenue Department instead of the IRS, that deception is gone.
We know now that when Dick Cheney makes a foreign policy or war policy decision regarding Iraq or Iran or Saudi Arabia, he is really thinking about what it will do for Halliburton and Dubai–and for Dick Cheney.
Remember the big brouhaha that arose when a Dubai-based company was in line to take over the operation of several major U.S. ports last year? Members of Congress were in high dudgeon over that and in the end the plan was abandoned.
So how do we feel knowing that virtually the entire supply line for our over-extended troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is now in the hands of a Dubai corporation, and that it has its hooks into the central policy arm of our government, Blair House and the Office of the Vice President?
Next time Halliburton’s KBR subsidiary serves our troops toxic, bacteria-ridden food, or puts untreated Euphrates River water into their canteens, maybe we should look harder to see if this was just another case of corporate corner and cost-cutting, or whether something more sinister was at work.
We–and members of Congress, if they still remember how to do their job–ought to be asking whether Halliburton’s move to Dubai has anything to do with anticipated business should Cheney get his way and the U.S. attacks Iran this spring. Since such a war would inevitably include the destruction of much of Iran’s state-owned oil industry, it would represent a huge new business opportunity for Halliburton, which first and foremost is an oil-services company.
Seeing all this is much easier with Halliburton based in Dubai, rather than Houston. Especially when you also consider the new oil law written by America and passed by the Iraqi parliament, which opens Iraq’s oil reserves to American oil companies.
The American soldiers and marines stuck in Iraq, who have long been led to believe that they are over there fighting to defend America, should have little trouble these days seeing that they are really fighting and dying for Halliburton, Exxon/Mobil and Chevronand Dubai.
DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.
He can be reached at: email@example.com