Now, within the last year, the din of the media objecting to its ham-fisted incompetence in all things to do with Iraq has become a deafening crescendo, obliterating almost any other news.
While the administration's hard-shelled support base has by now dropped below thirty per cent, there remains one group of silent, unwavering, and immensely powerful supporters who remain firmly at the president's side.
I am speaking of the many corporations who have unquestioningly funded his election campaigns, as a means of bolstering and continuing their avaricious war profiteering.
Yes folks, this war and its uniquely Republican method of steering billions, not millions of taxpayers' dollars toward the dreamy GOP philosophy of privatization, has been an unprecedented boon for these corporations.
Let me be clear here; the deaths of our young soldiers has been good---damned good, for these companies.
Want some examples?
Lockheed Martin has made $94 billion on Iraq. That's about $30 million per dead kid. Boeing was second, with $81 billion. Raytheon weighs in with $40 billion, and Northrup Grumman and General Dynamics have each pocketed about $34 billion. Lockheed Martin has spent over $53 million in lobbying, and six million dollars in campaign donations since 2000. Lockheed gets more money annually from our government than do either the Departments of Justice or Energy.
Since the Iraqi invasion, Halliburton profits have risen 500%. Halliburton was fined $8 million last month for overcharging our government during military operations in the Balkans while Cheney ran Halliburton. In January of last year, the administration overrode the Pentagon in a battle with Halliburton over $199 million in disputed charges, ordering the Pentagon to pay the bill. That same month, Halliburton reported 2005 profits as being "the best in our 86-year history." After taking a $30+ million dollar retirement for five years service, Cheney received over $400k in deferred earnings. While he was their CEO, he doubled government contracts, at the same time doubling their political contributions. Imagine that.
The Center for Public Integrity reports that seventy companies that were huge contributors to the Bush/Cheney campaigns have been awarded billions of dollars of Iraqi contracts, a good percentage of which were non-bidded. This should surprise absolutely nobody.
Favored Pentagon contractor Bechtel has received tens of millions of dollars to repair Iraq's schools. The Institute for Southern Studies reports that "Many haven't been touched, and several schools Bechtel claims to have repaired are in shambles. One 'repaired' school was overflowing with unflushed sewage."
In January, it was reported that DynCorp, an American company had acted independently of its State Department contracting officers, and billed the taxpayer for millions of dollars of work which was never authorized, sometimes starting jobs even before they were requested.
In 2003, the White House removed from the Iraqi spending bill any provision to penalize war profiteers who defrauded the American taxpayer.
Congressman Henry Waxman (D. CA) is now chairing the House Oversight Committee, and at long last, this parade of administration-encouraged war profiteering will be seeing some daylight. Waxman wondered aloud at a recent house hearing how anyone in their right mind would have shipped 363 tons of U.S. cash into a war zone, with "no way of knowing whether the cash would end up in enemy hands." That is exactly what L. Paul Bremer III did when he was running Mr. Bush's occupation of Iraq.
We are currently spending eight billion dollars a month on Mr. Bush's failed war. Only God knows how much has been siphoned off into the pockets of his corporate supporters.
General Smedley Butler, long considered one of the finest marines ever to wear the fouled anchor insignia, had this to say about war:
"There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket."
Butler would roll over in his grave if he saw the lengths to which this administration, almost none of whom ever served their country, has ignored---no, actually encouraged war profiteering by their corporate cronies and masters.