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David Letterman Rips Into Bush and Cheney

"Late Night" host David Letterman lays into the outgoing Republican administration in no uncertain terms during last night's broadcast, during an interview with former White House frontman Scott McClellan.

My feeling about Cheney and also Bush, but especially Cheney, is that he just couldn't care less about Americans. And the same is true for George Bush. And all they really want to do is somehow kiss up to the oil people so they can get some great annuity when they're out of office. 'There you go Dick, nice job! There's a couple of billion for your trouble.'

I mean he pretty much put Halliburton in business, and the outsourcing of the military resources to private mercenary groups and so forth. Is there any humanity in either of these guys?

No, there isn't -- and John McCain is no better.

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Comments (9)


A correction for David Letterman: Richard Cheney no more "put Halliburton in business" than Jeff Immelt put GE in business.

Halliburton was around long before Cheney ever entered politics. Letterman demonstrates an historical business perspective equal to that of, well, of a Hollywood celebrity. Zero.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

You're taking that line too literally. I think if you check the revenue growth for Haliburton you'll find that Cheney put them on the map in the years he was CEO and afterwards as VP.

I posted this because it's significant that the public discourse has become this vitriolic with respect to Republicans and Bush.

I mean... what he said is the kind of remark folks like me said a year ago -- and back then it was edgy - now it's mainstream.

Steve Crickmore:

Haliburton was a relatively small defense contractor until the Defense Department, under guess who, awarded it a significant contract in 1992.

The story behind America's "super contract" begins in 1992, when the department of defence, then headed by Dick Cheney, was impressed with the work Halliburton did during its time in Kuwait. Sensing the need to bolster its forces in the event of further conflicts of a similar nature, the Pentagon asked private contractors to bid on a $3.9m contract to write a report on how a private firm could provide logistical support to the army in the case of further military action.

The report was to examine 13 different "hot spots" around the world, and detail how services as varied as building bases to feeding the troops could be accomplished. The contractor that would potentially provide the services detailed in the report would be required to support the deployment of 20,000 troops over 180 days. It was a massive contingency plan, the first of its kind for the American military.

Thirty-seven companies tendered for the contract; KBR won it. The company was paid another $5m later that year to extend the plan to other locations and add detail.

The KBR report, which remains classified to this day, convinced Cheney that it was indeed possible to create one umbrella contract and award it to a single firm.

Cheney went on to become the CEO of Haliburton, and then vice-president and since Iraq, with the revolving door scenario, (whether he ever left Haliburton may be of question, appparently he he has still be in frequent touch with Haliburton as Vice President). Haliburton with its controversial no bid highly inflated contracts with little public accountability has seen its revuenue and profits quadruple.


"revenue growth for Haliburton you'll find that Cheney put them on the map in the years he was CEO and afterwards as VP"

I disagree Lee. Cheney was CEO 1995-2000. He expanded HAL by strategic acquisition and not organic growth. The largest and most material acqusition was Dresser (Dresser was a major player in oilfield services) in 1998. That acquisition complemented the Kellog aqcuisition from 1988 and was a reflection of overall consolidation in the oilfield services sector. Brown and Root was acquired in the 1960's. HAL was uniquely positioned to acquire significant market share when prices and exploration recovered from the 1980's and earlt 1990's. No other firm had the assets and resources to deploy and undertake such large projects as those now critized as the "no bid" contracts.

Steve, HAL is not a defense contractor as that term is commonly known. General Dynamics, Boeing, Lockheed, et al are defense contractors. HAL is an oilfield services company.

As to the revolving door, see this:


Your point raises the matter of cause and e

Lee Ward:

Here's a report on Halliburton's growth that documents Halliburton's huge growth after the Iraq War started.

Since the beginning of the Iraq war, Halliburton, the Texas energy giant once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has seen its stock price more than triple in value. When the U.S invaded Iraq in March of 2003, Halliburton's stock was selling for $20 per share. The stock price at the close of market activity on Monday was $66.

In the last 12 months, the total number of U.S. service members killed in Iraq almost doubled as Halliburton's stock doubled. Halliburton's stock rose from $33 per share in September 2004 to $66 yesterday while U.S. deaths in Iraq increased from 1,061 to almost 1900.

Halliburton, to use wall street venacular, "made a killing" in Iraq.

The stock price for Halliburton was $10.06 on the day the Iraq War started. It closed on Friday at $48.14.

The Iraq War made a nice tidy profit for Cheney's company. No Wonder Cheney has been fighting and resisting efforts to end the war...


When I find time I'm going to look at HAL's cash flow and attempt to carve out the revenue related solely to the Iraq war.

In the meantime consider what crude oil prices have done since 2003:


Drilling and service activity have surged internationally since then and HAL has captured much of that business because it is the preeminent services firm in the industry.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Halliburton has enjoyed a direct benefit from their pals in the White House in the form of bid and no-bid contracts -- but the instability created in the middle east as a result of the liars in the White House has provided side benefits as well -- by boosting the fortunes of the oil companies (witness the record profits) and those industry partners such as Halliburton's drilling subsidiaries.

You can't subtract the oil exploration from the profits just because it isn't flowing to Halliburton in the form of tax dollars. The tax dollars are the most egregious example of Cheney's dealings, but they aren't the only way Halliburton has benefited from their past (and some say future) association.


Lee and Steve,
KBR Government and Infrasrtucture generated 231mm in income on revenues of 4.782 billion in 2007;350mm in income on 5.262 billion in revenue in 2006;354mm in income on 5.880 billion in revenue in 2005. An average of 5-6% to the bottom line.

KBR was spun off into an independent company in 2007.

In comparison, HAL currently brings in excess of 20% to the bottom line today without KBR. HAL clearly made a "killing" in its traditional offield services business and not in the KBR G&I business (which returns were immaterial to their overall business). Hence its stock rose in spite of the poor results of KBR G&I.

Lee Ward:

Thanks for the data and research. As I wrote earlier, the instability in Iraq has benefited most all of the companies involved in the oil exploration arena - and I assume that "offield" is a typo and you were referring to "oilfeield".

This report recently surfaced, but the Republicans in the White House are keeping a lid on it until after the election.

For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC's Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations. The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

War profiteering

While George Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted. To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq. The president's Democrat opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.

Henry Waxman who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said: "The money that's gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, its egregious.

"It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history." In the run-up to the invasion one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth seven billion that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company, which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.

Unusually only Halliburton got to bid - and won.

Missing billions

The search for the missing billions also led the programme to a house in Acton in West London where Hazem Shalaan lived until he was appointed to the new Iraqi government as minister of defence in 2004.

Halliburton is showing a small margin, but the full extent to which Halliburton has profited has yet to be fully discovered -- and won't be revealed unless there is a change in Washington.

John McCain guarantees us more of the same.

HAL(KBR) is one of the top contractors in Iraq, and would have been at the front of the line of companies.

"Unusually only Halliburton got to bid - and won."

Thanks, Dick! Anyone who thinks Cheny won't personally profit from this deal isn't paying attention.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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