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23.01.2009

January 15, 20009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Grigory Tinsky

THE AMERICAN TARTUFFE. PART 4: IRAQI BILLIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH – WE NEED A TRILLION

Whom did Dick Cheney please, frying out money for a knowingly useless ABM project?

Part 1: http://www.rpmonitor.ru/en/en/detail.php?ID=12388

Part 2: http://www.rpmonitor.ru/en/en/detail.php?ID=12389

Part 3: http://www.rpmonitor.ru/en/en/detail.php?ID=12424

CHENEY'S PRIVY MOTTO: START A WAR, AND MAKE BIG MONEY

In this part of our research, we'll try to analyze the correlation between the spheres of Dick Cheney's business interests and US foreign policy initiatives. In fact, the famous phrase "What is good for General Motors is good for America" has converted into a practical motto of Dick Cheney: "What is good for Halliburton, is good for the globe".

The copyright for the original pronouncement belongs to GM's former president Charles Wilson. In January 1953, Dwight Eisenhower nominated him for Defense Secretary. The Senate Committee on Military Affairs asked the renowned company boss to tell which interests national or corporate he regards as a priority. "I've got used to believe that what is good for GM is good for the nation, and vice versa. In my view, it's the same", Wilson confessed. Being impressed with his sincerity, the Committee authorized his nomination, and he continued to serve as Defense Secretary until 1957. During his tenure, he was never exposed of lobbying his firm by promoting exclusive contracts for GM or using his business connections in another way. Dick Cheney's behavior has been strikingly different.

Definitely, Mr. Cheney can explain that the coincidence of Halliburton's business activity with the State Dept's foreign policy initiatives was just accidental. The public does not possess hard evidence of deliberate spawning crisis spots in various regions of the globe for particular corporate needs. Nobody has managed to record his talk with Condy Rice in which the VP would say, "Let's start a war in Iraq and make a lot of money".

It is similarly hard to imagine the VP's talk with George W. Bush with proposals like: "Why not promote Kosovo independence? My corporation has got a lot of veneer to build up a fancy military base over there. We'd like to sell it to the Army".

Still, when a lot of coincidences amount to a critical mass, they become evidence. When we compare the sources of deterioration of US-Russian relations with the sources of Halliburton's income, this effect of transformation of quantity into quality becomes obvious.

ABM SYSTEMS: A $1 TRILLION DEAL

Deployment of ABM systems in Poland and Czech is one of the most irritating factors in the relations of Washington and Moscow. From the standpoint of international security, the idea doesn't make sense at all. The Pentagon cannot prove that Pyongyang and Tehran possess inter-continental missiles. The Pentagon cannot substantiate the necessity to deploy ABM facilities in the center of the overpopulated Europe rather than on Pacific isles (as the distance for the supposed North Korean missiles is shorter in the Eastern hemisphere) or on the existing Gabala base in Azerbaijan, as Vladimir Putin proposed, in case Tehran is viewed as the most probable threat.

Most of American military experts, not speaking of European, believe that the efficiency of the Poland- and Czech-based ABMs will be miserable, and that they would not provide the required security for the United States In addition, they are too costly even for a superpower.

The only inevitable foreign policy effect of the initiative is a political conflict with Russia that views the selection of Poland and Czech for missile bases as a challenge for itself. But even Zbigniew Brzezinski, who can hardly be considered a good friend of Moscow, characterizes the ABM project as a "non-existing ABM system to meet a non-existing challenge for non-existing money".

The only valid explanation for this absurd initiative lies, again, in corporate appetites. US specialists indicate that the motor of the idea was VP Dick Cheney, the ardent promoter of state contracts for top military industrial corporations.

KOSOVO: ONE MORE LUCRATIVE CONTRACT

The NATO assault on Yugoslavia and the ensuing declaration of Kosovo independence can be recognized as a most arrogant violation of international law. The arguments about Kosovo's exceptional status are beyond criticism. Why should 6 million of Albanians be granted two statehoods while 40 million of Kurds have none? This question is raised also by US authors, particularly by Pat Buchanan. What is the US strategic interest in Kosovo?

Analyzing the campaign for Kosovo independence and its implications for global relations, one cannot find any valid political reason for the US role of sponsor of this campaign. The negative effects of this effort were summarized in European and Russian media. The US side failed to convincingly explain the difference between the status of Kosovo from that of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Thus, Washington undermined the interests of Georgia, its only true ally in the Caucasus, as since Kosovo was recognized as an independent state, there were no more arguments that could prevent Russia from a similar approach to Georgia's breakaway provinces.

If the idea like in the former case was just to snub Russia, the historical ally of the country from which Kosovo was carved out, this motive does not compensate the damage for Washington's relations with the EU, the only reliable partner of America in global politics. Could Halliburton's incomes from the contract for the Camp Bondsteel base justify the whole array of ensuing implications?

CHENEY'S INCOMES FROM IRAQ WAR AMOUNT TO $17-28 BILLION

The disaster of the US effort to "democratize" Iraq is obvious for anyone. The foreign policy implications are immense. The amount of US taxpayers' money that vanished in the Iraqi deserts is estimated in hundreds billions of US dollars, though precise calculation is unavailable. The security of the United States, as well as global security, has gained nothing from the irrational campaign. Moreover, the US intervention resulted in a political change in Iran that was most undesirable for Washington. Saddam's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction, as well as his regime's connections with the terrorist network of Al Qaeda, was never proven. What for do US soldiers victimize themselves in this land? What strategic goals has the United States reached and is able to reach in the region?

Scott Ritter, former officer of Marine Corps intelligence and a longtime chair of the UN mission in Iraq, admitsthat the people of the United States allowed itself to be cheated by the propagandist statements justifying war. He indicates that the war campaign was not substantiated with any knowledge of the real situation in Iraq.

"How quickly we bought into Saddam Hussein being the personification of evil. And while we were calling him the Middle East equivalent of Adolf Hitler, how little we knew of Iraq! How many people here truly know the difference between a Shia and a Sunni? Don't feel bad if you don't; the head of the Intelligence Committee of the United States Congress certainly doesn't. How many people here know whether Al Qaeda is a Sunni-based organization or a Shia-based organization? Don't be upset if you don't because the head of the Intelligence Committee certainly doesn't. Do you know where Wahhabism… do you know what is Wahhabism ?" inquires Ritter.

The former chair of the UN mission reminds that Baathism, the political trend represented by Saddam Hussein, had been focused on guaranteeing integrity of a secular Iraq. "Modern Baathism—and I'm not condoning Baathism , I'm just stating realityrejected tribalism, rejected ethnicity, rejected religion, and spoke of a unified secular Iraqi state. In order to achieve that vision, Saddam Hussein had to suppress the very tendencies that rise up and tear modern Iraq apart. And we condemned him for this? We called him a war criminal for this? Yet now we're in Iraq, we took away the glue that held together, and we're doing the same damn thing, but even worse. We've accused Saddam Hussein over the course of 30 years of killing 400,000 Iraqi people. Hell, it's taken us four years and we've killed 600,000".

On the background of this death toll, the incomes of Halliburton and its affiliates from the war look especially impressing. According to various estimates, they comprise between $17 billion and $28 billion.

IS CHENEY'S IMMUNITY AS GREAT AS HIS TALENT?

The list of cases in which Halliburton's incomes contrast with dire consequences for the interests of the United States from relevant political and military decisions could be prolonged. They include construction of the Guantanamo jail, the failed Caspian pipeline projects, and the nuclear program of Libya. The current gas crisis, which the Ukrainian President, backed by the US Republican establishment, seeks to solve for the expense of his own people, is not an exception.

Mr. Cheney is undoubtedly a talented person. Are his exceptional gift of converting political power into money and its net effect for national and global security, as well as the related death toll, going to be eventually evaluated by US justice?


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