Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's a Billion Dollars Between Friends?

Ya gotta love it when a guy who takes a stand against criminals because he believes so strongly that the men and women who are sacrificing their lives for our country (or at least the corporations that run it) deserve to have every available dollar spent for their benefit, is rewarded handsomely for his efforts. By getting fired.

Yep, that's right. An article in today's New York Times details what happened when an Army official "refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR," a subsidiary of Al Qaeda's greatest ally, Halliburton.
The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.

Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. “They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn’t justify,” he said in an interview. “Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that.”

Even cooler is that after he was replaced, Smith's decision was reversed because KBR threatened "that if it was not paid, it would reduce payments to subcontractors, which in turn would cut back on services." Yep, that's right. The payment was extorted by blackmailing the Army with the threat of withholding critical services to the troops.

I agree with one of America's best political observers, David Letterman, who recently said:
My feeling about Cheney–and also Bush, but especially Cheney—is he just couldn’t care less about Americans. And that the same is true of 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 troubles.” 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?

I can only hope there is a special place in hell for these traitorous bastards!
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