It was big news that Vice President Cheney used bad language to Senator Patrick Leahy. Cheney was angry about Leahy’s relentless attacks on Cheney and his old firm, Halliburton, for alleged “war profiteering.” Cheney was wrong to use such language. But the Halliburton critics are wrong, too.
Exploiting the controversy, an author named Dan Briody is out with a hatchet job on Halliburton. But during the end of a Federal City Club event featuring Briody and his new book, someone in the audience asked a question about Halliburton being an American company that generates jobs for Americans. Briody acknowledged that was the case and he went on to admit that Halliburton’s main competitor is a French firm, Schlumberger.
So the French, who don’t support America in Iraq and had sweetheart deals with Saddam Hussein, stand to benefit if Halliburton suffers. That’s certainly newsworthy. But one searches almost in vain for references to this fact in the major media, or in Michael Moore’s 9/11 movie, which also attacks Halliburton. The attacks are phony; there was no controversy when Halliburton performed similar services in the Balkans under President Clinton.
When the Democratic campaign for president got underway, far-left candidates such as Howard Dean started picking on Halliburton. Soon, John Kerry sounded the cry. Dave Lesar, chairman and CEO of Halliburton, has written, “In the 2004 campaign season, Halliburton apparently is no longer entitled to answer questions before being accused of mismanagement, profiteering or misuse of funds… The primary reason for the attacks on our integrity seems to be that the vice president of the United States used to hold my job.”
While she has been critical of Halliburton, liberal columnist Molly Ivins notes that “Democrats are involved in similar dealings.” She cites former CIA director John Deutsch, who serves on the board of Schlumberger. She also failed to note that another board member of Schlumberger is Jamie Gorelick, deputy Attorney General under Clinton. She was accused by Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft of erecting the “wall” that kept U.S. intelligence agencies from cooperating to discover and prevent the 9/11 terrorist plot. Deutsch, who also served under Clinton, could have been prosecuted for mishandling classified information. But Clinton gave him a last minute pardon before he left office.
Halliburton today employs 100,000 people in 120 countries. In Iraq, in addition to helping to rebuild the country’s oil infrastructure, it provides housing, meals, and other services for our troops. It has 24,000 employees in Iraq alone. But the political attacks on Halliburton make the company’s employees targets as well. To date, 34 Halliburton employees have been killed because of the war. The liberals attacking Halliburton haven’t issued any statements of regret over that. Why aren’t they giving speeches demanding that the media show pictures of those caskets? We’ve got news for them?the enemy in Iraq isn’t Halliburton. It’s the terrorists killing Halliburton’s American employees. We can understand Cheney’s anger.