THE SCANDAL OF CORPORATE SCOUNDRELS IN IRAQ

Wednesday, February 20, 2008   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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When it comes to his war in Iraq, George W keeps telling us that failure is not an option.

However, when it comes to the privatized army of Halliburtons, Blackwaters, and other corporations that Bush has hired at great national expense to run operations in Iraq, not only is failure an option – it’s the norm! The latest in a long line of corporate failures is an outfit called ITT Federal Services International, a Pentagon contractor hired to keep our troops’ battle gear in good working order.

However, ITT often certifies battlefield equipment as having been repaired and ready for action, but the equipment subsequently flunks military inspection, so it has to be re-fixed. Yet, under ITT’s Pentagon contract, the corporation gets paid for all labor costs, so it collects payment a second time for fixing what it failed to repair the first time. Rather than being fired for failure, contractors are rewarded. For example, ITT had a $33 million contract to overhaul 150 Humvees per month. It never came close to that number, but it still got the money and continues to be awarded new Pentagon contracts. Despite its sorry record, ITT has received $638 million from us taxpayers since 2004.

This is the direct result of an unprecedented, ideological push to privatize government and eliminate public oversight. Even the Pentagon now admits that it has a disastrous shortage of federal employees to watch over this ballooning corporate force, and that the system is rife with fraud, kickbacks, waste, and theft. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a former state auditor who is sponsoring legislation to look into war profiteering, says of the privatizing of the military, “It has just been a mess. It’s heartbreaking the amount of money that has just gone up in smoke.”

Bush has made America’s military captive to corporate scoundrels.

“Military Contractors Are Hard To Fire,” www.truthout.org, February 2, 2008

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