An industrial war machine?


Around the world in Britain, the United States, Asia and the Middle East, there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos; exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally remake our world in their image. They are the aptly called the “economic shock doctors.”

During Iraq’s civil war, Shell Oil and British Petroleum (BP) were permitted to claim the country’s vast oil reserves. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration made necessary to continue this domination and increase the wealth of the world “players.” The Bush family are oil magnates. George W.’s estimated net worth is $35 million, while his dad’s estimated net worth is $25 million, both conservative estimates.

In 1995, Halliburton hired Dick Cheney, and he would earn more than $44 million just from his Halliburton affiliation. His net worth is estimated $90 million. Mr. Cheney received the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Thomas Jefferson Award two years after 9/11.

Blackwater CEO and founder Erik Prince now lives in the United Arab Emirates. His estimated net worth is $3.5 billion. In the early 1990s, Erik Prince interned at the Family Research Council, a religious right organization that his family helped found and in the White House of President George H.W. Bush. HIs older sister Betty DeVos, of the Amway Corporation family, was former Michigan Republican Party chairperson. For years, the Prince family has been influential in both Michigan politics and national politics by distributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates for office. These contributions to organizations seeking to shape the public policy agenda in Michigan and the United States. Great connections for Blackwater, eh?

According to the “American Contractors in Iraq” website: “Contractors provide a number of advantages over military personnel or civil servants, namely speed of deployment, continuity, reduction of the troop requirements, reduction of military casualties, economic inputs to local economies, and, in some cases, executing tasks the military and civilian workforce simply cannot.” They must laugh all the way to the bank with our tax dollars.

According to Department of Defense data, from FY2008-FY2011, contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan represented 52 percent of the total force, averaging 190,000 contractors to 175,000 uniformed personnel. Over the last five fiscal years, DOD obligations for contracts performed just in the Iraq and Afghanistan areas of operation ($132 billion) exceeded total contract obligations of any other U.S. federal agency. The bottom line: huge financial paybacks for the Bush/Cheney cronies and the investors. How many of our military men and women were maimed or died in Iraq or Afghanistan? Are these military conflicts really about freedom for those country’s citizens, or select corporation profits in this country? Senator John McCain just returned from Syria. A “shock doctor” making house calls?”

Gerry Niedermaier