More Rabid Nonsense

The nice people at Fark pointed in me in the direction of this lovely tidbit from some outfit called Capitol Hill Blue. I have no idea who these people are or how credible they are, but once again, some asshat is claiming the source of all evil in the universe is Dick Cheney and/or Halliburton. Today’s claim is that some French judge is considering indicting Cheney based on allegations of improper business practices with Technip during his tenure as head of Halliburton.

I don’t have any idea of the specific truth or falsity of the claim, so I’m not going to comment on that issue. If it does turn out that Dick Cheney did something illegal, fine. Prosecute his ass in an American court. However, I find it pretty funny that a country where the President had to get re-elected to avoid facing indictment in a bribery investigation is going around pointing fingers. The idea that the French are whining about corrupt business practices in Africa is also absolutely ludicrous. Sorry, guys, you helped introduce the concept and led the world in execution for a looong time. Don’t bitch when it bites you in the ass.

Furthermore, if the French want to play games, we can play more entertaining games. There is a fair amount of evidence indicating complicity on the part of the French government in some things that happened in Africa few years back. I’ll also bring up the willful blindness toward the details of the Oil for Food program and the tendency of French banks and the French Foreign Ministry to ignore wrongdoing as long as some frog was getting a cut. Does bribery really matter when compared to aiding and abetting genocide? Hmm. I think not, but I’m sure people will disagree.

Finally, I’d like to vent about one of my pet peeves. To wit: SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT HALLIBURTON. I am really tired of this stupid trope that Halliburton controls the universe. Halliburton got no-bid contracts in Iraq? No shit. There’s about three or four companies that could actually handle the work. The fact that KBR got the work is not that surprising. They’ve only been doing government construction work since, oh, loosely speaking, forever. Last time I checked, the GAO said the contract awards were legitimate. Quit whining about the process. Want to complain about how KBR has handled the contract? Feel free, but keep in mind Dick Cheney doesn’t run the company anymore, so it doesn’t reflect on him personally. Trying to tie Halliburton’s current actions to a guy that hasn’t worked there in 4 years just makes you look batshit insane and incapable of reason.

Let’s look at the grand scheme of the oil industry and see if we can place Halliburton in that scheme. I work in the industry, and have some small amount of insight. (I realize that in some people’s eyes, this makes me some sort of evil, environment-desecrating, profit-hungry, exploitative bastard. Neat. The world as it is runs on petroleum. Deal with the fact or go live in a bush and eat grubs.) There are companies in the oil industry that can literally change governments by their actions. These are the super-majors like BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil. How does Halliburton stack up against them? Not favorably. ExxonMobil makes more in profits every year than Halliburton pulls down in total revenue. If ExxonMobil felt like it, they could buy Halliburton lock, stock, and barrel. Same goes for BP and Shell. Halliburton is a small fish in the biggest pond going.

So the Bush administration started a war to get control of Iraq’s oil to make Halliburton stockholders rich? Don’t make me laugh. Let’s see, can I come up with an easier way? Sure. Extract concessions from Saddam’s regime in order for lifting the sanctions. That would have been quick, simple, and relatively painless. Step by step, it goes like this:

Buy off on the UNOMOVIC report that says no WMD.
Work behind the scenes to get Saddam to agree to cut in American companies after the sanctions are lifted.
Twist the Brit’s arm until they agree.
Lift the sanctions.

Yay! Given that Halliburton is one of five oilfield services companies with a global reach, Halliburton will get some of the revenue from the massive expansion in oil production that follows. No blood, lots of oil. All is well and good until Saddam reactivates his WMD programs, loans a suitcase nuke to Al Qaeda, and lower Manhattan goes up in a ball of nuclear fire. The Bush administration wouldn’t care because Halliburton made money out the deal! Right? Wrong. Pull your head out of your fourth point of contact and get with the program.

What you should you take away from this? Two things. One: The French are not our allies. French political power has, since De Gaulle’s time, been devoted to countering U.S. influence in the world. This is not what allies do. Two: Halliburton is not important in the grand scheme of things. Find something substantive to pin your conspiracy theories on, or have a nice hot cup of STFU.


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