Halliburton Accused Of Gouging

Halliburton accused of Gouging

According to AFP, three Democratic leaders in Congress are charging Halliburton with gouging US taxpayers by charging $2.65 per gallon to transport gasoline from Kuwait to Iraq. Local Iraqi concerns do it for just under a dollar, and even the Pentagon folks (they of the $100 hammers) do it for for about $1.12 a gallon.

This is small potatoes. The three should look into that cozy contract Halliburton won to supply “emergency” services to the Pentagon. It transpires that the launching of a war is always going to be an emergency, and every time one is launched it equals billions of dollars for Halliburton. But in fact, the civilian subcontractors often refused to show up in Iraq in May-August, and they were the ones who were supposed to supply our troops with air conditioned quonset huts. Instead the poor guys “looked like hoboes and lived like pigs.” You can’t actually force civilians into a war zone.

The “emergency contract” should be cancelled and the Pentagon should go back to building quonset huts and feeding the troops themselves. They can be ordered into a war zone, after all.

If Halliburton wrote into its bid to supply “emergency” services to the Department of Defense that it would charge $2.65 a gallon for gasoline that it transports, that would be perfectly legal as long as their over-all bid was lower than the other competing companies.

Let me tell you the story of the summer I worked for the Department of Transportation with an engineer restoring a historic bridge. The company with the low bid, which got the contract, charged suspiciously high rates to supply concrete. Turns out their restoration technique used extraordinary amounts of concrete. My boss decided he had to break the contract once he found all this out. It was a sort of legal fraud. Probably the government had to pay off the company to make it go away.

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