(From the archive) 'The pitfalls of privatising war'

Here's another article from my past publications that gave me a little thrill, as even though I can't remember the details of it now, I received some sort of complaint and threat of legal action from one of the companies mentioned in the article - Titan Corp or CACI International.

Licking combs, practicing their lines, the opening salvo of Michael Moore’s anti-war film Fahrenheit 9/11 lines them up like witnesses for the prosecution: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and George W. Bush. If there were a corporate version of this axis of evil for many Iraq-war sceptics, it would be the energy firm once run by US Vice-President Dick Cheney: Halliburton.

A recent report claiming that the Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown Root (KBR) failed to disclose records of its fuel transportation in Iraq will reinforce these views. The October audit report, never released to Congress or the public, found more than US$108 million ($137 million) in questionable delivery costs. In one instance, KBR charged US$27.5 million ($34.8 million) to ship just over $100,000 worth of liquefied petroleum gas, according to The Wall Street Journal.

KBR is the US military’s biggest contractor in Iraq and this is the latest in a series of corruption allegations that have hounded the Bush administration’s post-war reconstruction (an impression reinforced by its decision that only member states from the coalition of the willing would gain from the spoils).

But the real issue is not so much profiteering - an impulse that has been around since Homer - but the way the private sector evades scrutiny.