When did Halliburton become a four letter word? The Texas-based energy company has been the center of nearly every controversy known to man since George Bush and Dick Cheney took office in 2001. It has become taboo to even mention their name in casual conversation.
While Cheney readily admits he has no current connections with the corporation he once worked for, and records show that Halliburton profits little, if at all from its contracts in Iraq, liberals from Michael Moore to John Kerry continue to use Halliburton as a dirty word. The intended consequence is to connect the company with everything that is currently wrong in the world.
Take a recent New York Times article published during the week of the Republican National Convention. In a piece which discussed parties and fundraisers held during those four days in New York City, the Times identified Halliburton by name as a host for one of these events. The next day, in typical fashion, the newspaper corrected itself. It retracted the claim, linking that party to TXU Energy, another Texas-based energy company.
While not a stirring controversy, it shows the lack of respect and professionalism when it comes to dealing with Halliburton. Instead of asking the simple questions to give base for their claim, the Times and other media outlets simply rush to air anything that can be remotely likened to Halliburton. Since an article or newscast dealing with TXU will certainly draw less viewers than one headlined with Halliburton, the media often choose the latter over integrity and fairness.
But it does not stop with media establishments. John Kerry has also joined the circus of liberals on the Halliburton bandwagon. While spending time and precious resources on Halliburton, Kerry wastes opportunities to discuss issues such as health care, the deficit and the war on terror. Kerry has invested millions into airing television ads claiming the supposed Cheney-Halliburton relationship has cost the United States $200 billion in Iraq. The ads also linked lost jobs and rising health care costs to this connection.
Claiming that, “Halliburton got billions in no bid contracts in Iraq… What did we get? Lost jobs. Rising health care costs,” Kerry continues his campaign’s downward spiral, resorting to last ditch efforts to eek out a few more liberal votes before election day.
This type of “shock and awe” political advertising and reporting, similar to that used exclusively by organizations such as the Media Fund and Moveon.org, simply ignore the facts at hand.
Whether or not you believe that Dick Cheney still has an inherent interest in a company he no longer works for, the current dealings with the company suggest otherwise. Halliburton operates within the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program managed by the U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC). The contract specifies that the company receives compensation for its costs on supplies and equipment, plus an extra one percent profit. A corporation as large as Halliburton which operates on a profit margin of one percent cannot warrant gross miscalculations and inefficiencies that others have claimed. In fact, Halliburton itself has discovered nearly every single instance of overcharging, choosing to police and regulate its own actions before they place the bill on the American people.
Halliburton has risked public support and financial security in favor of protecting our troops in the Middle East. They have lost nearly 50 employees in Iraq since 2003. These are not troops or military personnel. Those killed were truck drivers and construction workers, volunteering to go into harm’s way to ensure that our troops and the Iraqi citizens have the basic necessities to survive.
Whether or not you agree with the actions in Iraq, most everyone understands the importance of securing and maintaining peace in that region. While weathering attack after attack from Michael Moore and Saddam loyalists on a daily basis, Halliburton rebuilt dozens of schools and bridges and provided permanent housing, mess halls and laundry facilities for our troops. They surpassed the predicted post-war oil production levels months in advance, producing well over 2 million barrels of oil per day, according to documents from the Iraqi Oil Ministry. If these actions, which are vitally important for the security of the Middle East, the United States and Iraqi citizens, have all of a sudden become taboo, then what will liberals want to prohibit next?
Brian Reimels can be reached at email@example.com.