Friday, August 31, 2007

The Band Marches On: War Profiteers Find Ever More Sickening Ways To Commit Treason

"There is such a thirst for gain [among military suppliers]...that it is enough to make one curse their own Species, for possessing so little virtue and patriotism." -- President George Washington, 1778

George Washington knew a thing or two about war. Unlike a more recent George W, he chose to actually fight in one to defend what he believed, instead of simply paying it lip service while bottom-up in an alley somewhere with a fifth of Scotch in tow.

In fact, when it came to engaging in armed conflict, the Founding Fathers considered enriching oneself through war the lowest form of treason. These days among the GOP donor class it has a different name.

A day at the office.

Adding to what we learned from Robert Greenwald's terrific film on this topic (full disclosure, he's my boss--further disclosure, I'd be writing this anyway as you may be able to tell from my slightly peeved tone), Iraq For Sale, a number of recent articles have helped shed a light on the sick practice of immensely profiting from unnecessary death, as well as the punishments meted out to whistleblowers for trying to help reign in this traitorous behavior. It is enough to make you wonder if we are still the United States we all grew up learning about, or have become something more akin to the Roman Empire (ask Larry Craig about that).

Matt Taibbi, in a recent piece for The Rolling Stone, describes one typical case this way:

You start off as a well-connected bureaucrat: in this case, as an Air Force civil engineer, a post from which Robbins was responsible for overseeing 70,000 servicemen and contractors, with an annual budget of $8 billion. You serve with distinction for thirty-four years, becoming such a military all-star that the Air Force frequently sends you to the Hill to testify before Congress -- until one day in the summer of 2003, when you retire to take a job as an executive for Parsons, a private construction company looking to do work in Iraq.


A few months later, in March 2004, your company magically wins a contract from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to design and build the Baghdad Police College, a facility that's supposed to house and train at least 4,000 police recruits. But two years and $72 million later, you deliver not a functioning police academy but one of the great engineering clusterfucks of all time, a practically useless pile of rubble so badly constructed that its walls and ceilings are literally caked in shit and piss, a result of subpar plumbing in the upper floors.
Yes, if this doesn't remind you of the very "military industrial complex" President Eisenhower--a Republican at a time when they were actually a respectable party instead of a collection of self-hating lunatics--warned us about in his farewell speech, you're dumber than Dubya.

This shameful case is but one of thousands: Billions disappear in Iraq, Katrina becomes a money-making venture for those who have already screwed up multiple times in Iraq and no-bid contract has become a household term learned by every American during the corrupt reign of The Decider.

Take our friends at CACI. No, please take them. Would it surprise you in any way to find out that they are up to their necks in piles of naked men at Abu Ghraib:

Following the conviction of a few low-ranking soldiers for their roles in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, Lt. Col. Steven Jordan was reprimanded Wednesday by a 10-member jury after his conviction on only a single charge - failing to obey an order. As a result, he will spend no time in jail, after being cleared of all allegations that he abused prisoners or failed to do his duty as a senior officer at the notorious prison. The case is supposed to be the last of the criminal proceedings concerning this dark chapter of the Iraq war, but sources close to the Abu Ghraib legal drama tell TIME that two key civilians who worked as private contractors in the notorious facility's cell blocks could still face prosecution.


CACI itself said in 2004 that its own internal investigation had produced no evidence that any of its employees had been involved in abuse at the prison. Contacted by TIME regarding new investigations into their former employee Stefanowicz, a spokesperson said: "CACI does not condone or tolerate illegal acts or behavior on the part of its employees. It is the company's clear and unambiguous policy that all its activities shall comply with all applicable laws at all times."
Well that clears it up. They don't "tolerate" or "condone" torturing other human beings. So that's why it didn't happen. Oh wait, it did.

And of course CACI and their bloated, Cheney-like, cholesterol-inhaling, CEO J.P. London got themselves the best lobbyists money could buy. Which would be Vin Weber, former GOP Rep. from Minnesota and policy-chairman on the Romney-For-President campaign (a tough job, as you have to change your position paper on any issue on any given day).

Good to know Weber could have access to a GOP President. J.P. London must be psyched. His compensation only rose from $2.5 million in 2003 to nearly $4 million in 2005 of course not including stock options worth $27.5 million by the end of 2005. So if President Bush regulates children our of having health care access through SCHIP, J.P's kids could find themselves in some hot water. Not boiling water, like the prisoners of Abu Ghraib most likely got to know intimately, but hot.

I am guessing somewhere J.P.'s over-caloried corpus must by gyrating with delight at the thought of a President Romney.

And what if you actually have a conscience and try and stop this madness? Why, you are punished by those making out like bandits, of course. And by punished I mean demoted, fired and yes, sometimes tortured (obviously CACI has some experience with this):

One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.
Is this the country you thought you lived in? Because it was not the one I grew up believing in. It is also not a country that is going to prosper much longer on the world stage, unless we do something to show people that we don't reward venality and criminal behavior.


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