The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Army to end exclusive Halliburton contracts

I should've posted this yesterday, but here it is if you missed it.

The Army is discontinuing a controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton Co. to provide logistical support to U.S. troops worldwide, a decision that could cut deeply into the firm's dominance of government contracting in Iraq.

The choice comes after several years of attacks from critics who saw the contract as a symbol of politically connected corporations profiteering on the war.

Under the deal, Halliburton had exclusive rights to provide the military with a wide range of work that included keeping soldiers around the world fed, sheltered and in communication with friends and family back home. Government audits turned up more than $1 billion in questionable costs. Whistle-blowers told how the company charged $45 per case of soda, double-billed on meals and allowed troops to bathe in contaminated water.

The issue of war profiteering in Iraq has yet to be addressed in Congress, but at least people like Henry Waxman are paying attention:

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), a frequent Halliburton critic, said he would like to see even more companies included as winners in order to increase competition as work arises. But he welcomed the move away from the exclusive contract with Halliburton as a good first step. "When you have a single contractor, that company has the government over a barrel," Waxman said. "One needs multiple contractors in order to have real price competition. Real competition saves the taxpayer money."

Oh, those liberals. So sensible when it comes to fiscal policy.