Iraq For Sale
Robert Greenwald has done it again. You'll be forgiven for not knowing the name of this superb and gifted documentarian; You'll never see any of his work on CBS, NBC, ABC or any other mainstream media outlet, for that matter. That's because Greenwald works independent of all corporate influence. His films, "Out Foxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism", "Uncovered: The War on Iraq" and "Walmart: The High Cost of Low Cost" have the unfortunate tendency of telling obvious and yet uncomfortable truths that the American plutocracy would rather you and I not know. He's that kind of filmmaker.
His latest film, "Iraq For Sale", is probably his best one yet. I really don't have to explain the story behind it, do I? The title says it all. The war in Iraq was a gold mine for the Bush administration and their corporate connections. It explains, in painstaking detail, how these companies, Dick Cheney's Halliburton in particular, were able to make a killing - literally - by overcharging the American taxpayers and stealing billions of dollars in the process. In order to milk as much profit as they possibly could from this massive cash cow, they supplied American soldiers with bad food, tainted water and lethally inferior equipment. Interviews granted to Greenwald and his crew by past and present Halliburton employees, not to mention servicemen who fought in Iraq, tell a story so disturbing and outrageous, if every American could hear it today, Bush and Cheney would be impeached tomorrow.
Halliburton, which is a subsidiary of the Texas-based firm, Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), was given no-bid contacts by the Bush Mob to provide services to the military which in previous conflicts were provided by the military, itself. In short, this is the first war in the history of the world that has been completely privatized!
Do you recall what Mussolini said about fascism being a combination of corporate and state power? Do you, per chance, see a little bit of a trend here? Ah! I thought as much.
Let's explore just a handful of Mr. Greenwald's juicier revelations, shall we?
1. Forty cents out of every dollar controlled by congress now goes to private contractors. There are over one-hundred thousand of them today in the Iraq/Kuwait area alone.
2. Much of the "soldiering" being done in Iraq at the moment has been contracted out to a private security firm called Blackwater which was responsible for much of the abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib. The very existence of this company, a private army for profit, flies in the face of the Geneva Conventions, not to mention the US Constitution.
3. Many of the civilian contractors, doing jobs that were once done by the army, are getting paid six-figure salaries.
4. One of the companies, Titan, which was paid over two billion dollars to provide linguists, sent to Iraq people who were barely proficient in the Arabic language.
5. The uniform code of military justice does not apply to civilian contractors in Iraq.
6. Most of the people doing the menial work for KBR are cheap labor from other middle eastern countries. These jobs could and should have gone to the Iraqi people. This might very well have prevented the dissent that is today making itself known by means of an out-of-control insurgency.
7. Many of the American civilians who were lured to Iraq by the promise of high salaries, have been put into dangerous, combative situations. Scores of them have lost their lives as a result.
8. The water provided by Halliburton for American servicemen and women to drink and bathe in is described by former employee Ben Carter as, "extremely contaminated". He broke down and wept on camera while he was relating this information. "Of the sixty-seven water treatment plants that Halliburton run, sixty-three of them weren't providing safe water", he said.
9. Halliburton has been regularly charging the army forty-five dollars for a six pack of soda manufactured in the middle east and ninety-nine dollars to clean a three dollar bag of laundry.
10. The tents provided by Halliburton for the soldiers to sleep in were, "completely moldy", according to Sgt. Kelly Dougherty of the Colorado National Guard. Many of these kids are getting sick form upper-respiratory infections.
11. Halliburton has been charging the American taxpayer (umm, that would be you and me) over three-hundred thousand dollars for three year leases on SUVs worth less than forty-five thousand that are used by the KBR executives themselves!
12. They are providing brand new trucks without oil filters, "so when the engine blows, what do you do? Buy a new truck and bill the government", according to Ben Carter.
13. Halliburton has routinely sent out convoys of empty trucks across the Iraqi desert in order to charge the military more money, needlessly putting the lives of the drivers at risk. Many have died as a result.
14. The deal that gave Halliburton its no-bid contract was coordinated by its former CEO, vice-president Dick Cheney.
15. Halliburton's stock has quadrupled since the beginning of the war in 2003.
16. All of the companies involved in what will eventually prove to be a trillion dollar rip-off in Iraq have political and financial ties to the Republican National Committee and the Bush White House.
17. Every single amendment that has been introduced to stop this wanton fraud and abuse has been killed by a Republican controlled congress.
Please buy the DVD of Iraq For Sale and show it to as many people as possible. It is the most important documentary to come out in years. We have got to put a stop to this obscenity. But we're only going to do it by making damned sure that both houses of congress are not given back to the Republicans next month. The last line of the film, spoken by Sgt. Geoff Millard, says it better than I can:
"I am a patriot. I love our country and I want our country to survive. And the survival of our country depends on us taking it back".
Amen, Brother Geoff!
Pray for peace.
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"Iraq For Sale" is still a very valid film five years after it was released. It should be seen by everyone in order to understand what that disgusting administration did to this country. Here is a link to order it off of Amazon.com:
Show it to the world.