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4.0 out of 5 stars "Don't Worry About Price It's Cost-Plus", 18 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Halliburton's Army How a Well-Connected (Paperback)
So was the catchphrase amongst management at that patriotic provider of military services Halliburton and their subsidiary Kellogs, Brown and Root who are the subject of this fine piece of muck-raking journalism by CorpWatch's Pratap Chatterjee.

The first part of Chatterjees "Haliburton's Army" patiently sets the context within which companies such as Halliburton were to become recepients of multi-billion dollar contracts during the Gulf War. The story of the two chief architects of the farming out of military services, Dick and Donald (Cheney and Rumsfeld), is laid before the readers in depressing detail, from their time together around the end of the Nixon administration on through the Ford administration to the period when they were vice-president and defence secretary in the Bush II administration. In between times Donald uses his government experience and a complete lack of scruples to push forward the agendas of private companies he works for, with occasional work for the Regan administration including cosying up with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Dick runs for public office and has a political career that includes being Bush I's defence secretary, where his influential review sets the scene for contracting out military services, before going on to lead Halliburton for several years. There is also a review of the contracting out policies and experiences of the US military from World War Two onwards including Vietnam, the 1990-91 Gulf War onto the Balkans where the process really begins to take off.

The scene is now set for the crimes and misdemeanours to come, and come they do, by the tanker load. Overcharges for services provided and unprovided, massive price gouging on imported fuel, exploitation of third world nationals as well as their American who are variously uninsured, low waged and unpaid, lied to and expendable. Whistleblowers are not only harrassed out of Halliburton, but cast out of the military, all under the approving eye of the Bush II administration. While Chatterjee's focus is on Halliburton, he does range wider to look into the exploits of Halliburtons sub-contractors and "competitors".

This is a fine expose of an unscrupulous company in a mercanary business, sheltering under the umbrella of a corrupt and brutal administration during a scoundrel time. And though the Iraq fiasco has been consigned to the dust bin of history the lessons of this book are no doubt pertinent to current events in Afghanistan and god knows where else in the future.

Other books worth reading that cover similar territory would include T.Christian Millers Blood Money, and Jeremy Scahills Blackwater which looks at the even more disturbing world of privatised soldiers in Iraq.
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Location: Scotland

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