Just Read – Halliburton’s Army

Everything about the United State’s war in Afghanistan and Iraq is well documented.  What is little known is the details that goes into the well oiled war machine of the US Army.  A company by name Halliburton, which in the general sense is known to people as a company that is into oil discovery and marketing is very much entrenched in the way the US government goes into war.

Years ago Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney laid the foundations of outsourcing the critical logistics of the American military machienary.  Dick Cheney as the head of Halliburton and Donald Rumsfeld as the person who created the policies necessary for the same.

Today Halliburton-KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root) which was later on split into two different companies, Halliburton and KBR are the main ones who run the logistics of the American military.  In the process they have totally corrupted the procedures and have billed the American public billions of dollars of fake expenses.

Pratap Chatterjee goes into great detail as to how the Halliburon-KBR combine came about, how it managed to entrench itself into all the contracts of the military logistics, its transgressions, fake billing, over billing, wastage of food, resources, blatant human rights abuses, rapes of its female employees, usage of foreign nationals in war zones with no safety equipment, their exploitation etc.  Its a disturbing read of how in this age of free and available information, all these details have been hid from the public in general.

The book is in the markets for a few years and the fact that it hasnt been challenged or sued is a sure indication that the author has got his facts right and that he has evidence to prove all accusations he presents in the book.  Even though Halliburton-KBR might reject the author’s claims, it does recognise the rot that infests the organisation.

Chatterjee (Iraq Inc.) delves into the nebulous world of the Houston-based Halliburton corporation, tracing the company to its roots, when a fortuitous meeting with a young Lyndon Baines Johnson propelled the Brown and Root Company (which later merged with Halliburton) into Washington power politics. The author details the military contracting that largely funded the company through WWII and into the present-day war in Iraq, intertwining the company’s history with the biographies of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other officials in the Bush administration. Chatterjee provides a laundry list of abuses for which the company has been investigated, including inflated billing of the Pentagon, providing unsafe living conditions for U.S. soldiers, labor exploitation and coverups to avoid congressional inquiry. He concludes with a look at the whistleblowers that brought these scandals into the public eye and the repercussions of the eventual congressional investigation. Chatterjee keeps the pace of the narrative at a quick clip and nimbly marshals his extensive evidence to reveal—without sanctimony or stridency—Halliburton’s record of corruption, political manipulation and human rights abuses.

“Halliburton’s Army” begins citing how $5,000/day oil-well fire-fighters were brought in, despite the Kuwaiti’s offering to do the job for free out of gratitude for Gulf War I and concern for their own environment. The situation rapidly deteriorated – potential whistle-blowers demoted or other wise threatened, overheads running 43-55%, overcharges for fuel – $2.64/gallon, vs. a local Iraqi source at .96/gallon (or even an internal Defense Dept. source at $1.32/gallon), splitting contracts to avoid bidding requirements associated with large dollar amounts, billing for hours not worked, ordering multiple items when just one was needed (cost-plus!), serving overpriced and sometimes outdated food to non-existent troops, failure to treat water with chlorine, using very-high-priced suppliers, electrocuting troops via improper electrical work, failing to pay required disability benefits to those injured on the job, etc.

Source: Halliburton’s Army Amazon page

Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War
Author – Pratap Chatterjee
Pages – 304
Publisher – Nation Books

No comments

  • Indian Homemaker

    Shocking and unbelievable. Usage of foreign nationals in war zones without safety equipment, is believable though 🙁 So is wastage, exploitation, human rights violation etc… some of these have made it to the newspapers.

    🙁

  • Krishna Aradhi

    If the US system is itself so rotten, we can only imagine how rotten the Indian system may be. We’ll just have to wait till an Indian who knows the truth gets pissed off and blows the whistle.

    By the way, I wonder if I can buy this book in a bookstore in Hyderabad. I’ll check in a day or two.