Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Leftist Propaganda and Lies About Saddam and Halliburton

“Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one.”
--Sen. Ted Kennedy
"Iraq was not a terrorist haven before the invasion."
--Sen. John Kerry

Ever since the start of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, opponents of President Bush in general and of the invasion of Iraq in particular have bombarded us with these messages:

We created the terrorists by going to Afghanistan and Iraq to fight them.

There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Muslim terrorism.

The war was started to give fat contracts to Halliburton, Cheney’s former company.

To say that we created the terrorists by fighting them is a lot like saying that chemotherapy causes cancer, and it makes about as much sense. One of the aims of our invasion of Iraq was to draw the terrorists there and fight and kill them there, rather than face them on American soil after they kill thousands more Americans. Since 9/11 there have been no further terrorist attacks within the USA, and 10’s of thousands of Muslim terrorists have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition, we now have documented proof of what the president knew when he ordered the move into Iraq. Saddam indeed was financing and training thousands of Muslim terrorists for missions around the world. Here is an excerpt from a recent article by Stephen F. Hayes at the Weekly Standard:

“THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000.

Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis. According to three officials with knowledge of the intelligence on Iraqi training camps, White House and National Security Council officials were briefed on these findings in May 2005; senior Defense Department officials subsequently received the same briefing.

The photographs and documents on Iraqi training camps come from a collection of some 2 million "exploitable items" captured in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan. They include handwritten notes, typed documents, audiotapes, videotapes, compact discs, floppy discs, and computer hard drives.”

The entire article can be seen here.

As far as Halliburton is concerned, having personally worked closely with Halliburton personnel, I have known for many years that they were a world-class company which had skill-sets that no other company could match, and that their personnel were not only extremely competent, but also honest. Now comes this report (excerpt) on Halliburton by respected journalist and historian, Richard Miniter in The Washington Times:

"Is Halliburton a war profiteer? Some antiwar activists scoff even at the question. They have little doubt that Halliburton made massive profits on the Iraq War and that its former chief executive, Vice President Dick Cheney, greased the skids.

At first glance, it would seem that a firm cannot be a war profiteer if it had next to no profits. Halliburton earned $85 million from $3.6 billion in Iraqi contracts, a profit margin of roughly 2.4 percent, in 2003. In the second quarter of 2004, Halliburton reported that it earned 1.4 percent profits on $1.7 billion worth of work in Iraq. These are pitifully small rates of return.

Would you stick with a mutual fund that invested for less than a 2 percent return? Neither would Halliburton.

As a result of poor performance, Halliburton wants to sell the division that runs Iraqi operations, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR).

Consider Halliburton's stock price. When current CEO David J. Lesar took over from Dick Cheney in August 2000, the company's shares were trading at $54. They sank to a record low of $8.70 in 2001. As of August 9, 2005, they trade at $58. If Halliburton had been raking in record profits in the war years (from 2003 to the present), its stock price would have climbed, not flatlined.

But these small, essential facts have not stopped critics from fulminating about secret deals, no-bid contracts, and yes, fat profits extracted from taxpayers.

In 1998, while Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO, Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries, its former rival in the oil-services business. A Dresser subsidiary, Harbison-Walker Refractories (which Dresser had sold in 1992), had made insulating bricks and coatings with asbestos decades before asbestos was banned. But the courts found Halliburton liable anyway. Halliburton finally settled its asbestos cases in December 2004, at a cost of $5.1 billion.

The bottom line? Because of that payout, Halliburton has earned virtually no net profits for the last five years.

Is it possible that the Iraq operations made mountains of money, but simply not enough to compensate for the Everest of litigation costs? Independent journalists who have extensively investigated Halliburton's operations reluctantly conclude that Iraq has not been a geyser of money for the troubled industrial giant.

In early 2001, before September 11, Halliburton won the Defense Department's "super contract," which covers food, maintenance, construction, and other services worldwide. In hopes of getting more government business, Halliburton "bid a price that was shockingly low. In addition to being reimbursed for what it spent, Halliburton would get a base fee of 1 percent and a maximum performance award of just 2 percent," noted Fortune's Peter Elkind."

Richard Miniter is the author of two New York Times bestselling books, "Losing bin Laden" and "Shadow War," and is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism.
The entire article can be seen here.

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