Molly Ivins wraps it up nicely and ties a bow on top.
September 4, 2002 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Molly Ivins wraps it up nicely and ties a bow on top. When Dick Cheney was CEO of the oilfield supply firm Halliburton, the company did $23.8 million in business with Saddam Hussein, the evildoer "prepared to share his weapons of mass destruction with terrorists."
posted by pejamo (22 comments total)

 
Maybe, um, so they'd have the money -- to which they were legally entitled under the security council resolutions -- in order to buy food and medicine? And as Molly duly notes, Democrats are up to their necks in similar deals. These are, after all, sanctions, and not boycotts. It's not called oil for food for nothing. Most of it comes to US firms anyway -- Iraqi oil is low in sulfur, thus one of the few types that isn't fully fungible on the world market.

Since this program exists to relieve the much-bandied-about suffering of the Iraqi people, there is a significant way that this can be considered as contributing to a humanitarian cause (the money is strictly monitored and is only to be used for appropriate purposes).

After all, if the sanctions were to be lifted -- an argument I believe Molly has made -- it would be completely legal for anyone, anywhere to do business with the man.
posted by dhartung at 7:21 PM on September 4, 2002


dharting: What about the fine for Libya?
posted by tellmenow at 7:24 PM on September 4, 2002


dhartung: So. Democrats aren't calling for war with Iraq. Cheney has already, in pretty clear and forceful language.
posted by raysmj at 7:36 PM on September 4, 2002


Cheney also previously denied - during the 2000 campaign, no less - that Halliburton did any business with Iraq. If what the company did was equal to a "humanitarian cause," why didn't he come right out and say so? My guess is: It wasn't.
posted by raysmj at 7:49 PM on September 4, 2002


Maybe, um, so they'd have the money -- to which they were legally entitled under the security council resolutions -- in order to buy food and medicine?

I don't think that gives Cheney and Haliburton a free pass for doing business with the dictator he is now demonizing. You make it sound as if Haliburton bought the oil for altruistic reasons.
posted by rcade at 8:09 PM on September 4, 2002


Maybe, um, so they'd have the money -- to which they were legally entitled under the security council resolutions -- in order to buy food and medicine?

Since this program exists to relieve the much-bandied-about suffering of the Iraqi people, there is a significant way that this can be considered as contributing to a humanitarian cause (the money is strictly monitored and is only to be used for appropriate purposes).


One would advise the greed/war apologists: reach deeper, backtrack faster.

And pay no attention to that sound you hear coming from beneath your feet - it's just William of Occam turning over in his grave.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:22 PM on September 4, 2002


Hmm, Halliburton does $12.8B in sales. If during Cheney's five-year career there, HAL did $23.8M with Iraq, that averages 0.037% of revenues, or one part in 2700.

That's supposed to constitute a strong case against Cheney? Against war?
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 9:37 PM on September 4, 2002


The case against Cheney is the hypocrisy of doing business with scum when it's convenient economically, then turning around and advocating war against them when it's convenient politically.
posted by neuroshred at 10:28 PM on September 4, 2002


Which is the case against the Bush Administration.
posted by crasspastor at 10:53 PM on September 4, 2002


the hypocrisy of doing business with scum when it's convenient economically

"Which is the case against the Bush Administration"
posted by crasspastor at 10:55 PM on September 4, 2002


Hieronymous Coward: HAL did $23.8M with Iraq, that averages 0.037% of revenues

What does percentage have to do with it? 24 million dollars is a lot of money to anyone short of, well, Dick Cheney. The problem here isn't percentage its principle.
posted by skallas at 10:58 PM on September 4, 2002


Molly is funny. Frustrated, but funny. First time the story "broke", and was "widely reported in the European Press" (meaning it was in a few papers for a week or two), US Dems were almost estatic - "gotcha gotcha gotcha" they cried with glee. Hypocrite! Proof that the Bush administration is evil! Unfortunately, the public didn't resonate much, and the "story" died. Nice of Molly to bring it up again. Even more fun to see that (shockingly enough to her) it still isn't resonating much. The public seems to think (fools that they all are) that when someone works for a company, they naturally do the best for that company - and likewise hopes that if that same person then holds office in the US, they will (gasp) actually do what they consider best for the US.

I do find it interesting that the relevant "story" worth investigation (at least in her mind) is not the small matter of how close to getting nuclear weapons Saddam is, and the extent to which he'd like to use them against the US, but rather how many different ways it is possible to try to embarass Dick Cheney. But I suppose that Saddam stroy is just "old news".
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:28 PM on September 4, 2002


Way to spin Midas.

Frustrated. We're all fucking frustrated. And it's funny that we're all frustrated. To that I'll give you a LOL.


US Dems were almost estatic - "gotcha gotcha gotcha" they cried with glee.

Like ecstacy it lasts for but a night.

Proof that the Bush administration is evil!

Care to share links where this doesn't prove true?

Unfortunately, the public didn't resonate much, and the "story" died.

Without you around my propaganda filter has needed tuning. Explain why the mass/corporate media would have interest in carrying this corporate "freemarket-atrocity" any further in the public eye when there's money to be made.

Even more fun to see that (shockingly enough to her) it still isn't resonating much.

Tuning fork rejects aside, who's fucking playing her music these days?

The public seems to think (fools that they all are) that when someone works for a company, they naturally do the best for that company - and likewise hopes that if that same person then holds office in the US, they will (gasp) actually do what they consider best for the US.

You're out of practice too I see. You'll have to do better than that, knowing what many of us know, that the media covers what it succeeds by covering.

I do find it interesting that the relevant "story" worth investigation (at least in her mind) is not the small matter of how close to getting nuclear weapons Saddam is, and the extent to which he'd like to use them against the US, but rather how many different ways it is possible to try to embarass Dick Cheney.

I'm not sure if this were displayed backwards it would make anymore sense. You're saying the embarrassment of Dick Cheney is less preferable than a complete destabilization of world politics, economy, environment and the deaths of countless bystanders?
posted by crasspastor at 11:54 PM on September 4, 2002


I think Midas is really going the wrong way with this. Most war/big-business/status-quo apologists really haven't utilized pity as much as they should. Its a real crowd pleaser, just look at Bush's underdog tale of an almost miraculous transformation from alcoholic party-boy trust-fund kiddie to drug-free born-again Christian President! Everyone loves an underdog!

Midas, perhaps you should have gone with something like this: "Cheney is making amends for his past. He made some bad deals, but now the situation is grave and Saddam must be ousted regardless of international co-operation, military and civilian causalties, etc.

Are the Cheney people listening? This would made great PR. Picture Cheney in some middle American church, (something fancy but not too fancy) loudly declaring, "I made a deal with the devil!" *the audience gasps* "And his name was Saddam! Now I beg forgiveness and demand retribution!"
posted by skallas at 12:27 AM on September 5, 2002


"Hallelujah! I am saved-ah! Washed clean-ah by the pow-ah of the aaaaalmightay doll-ah!"
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:45 AM on September 5, 2002


I'm still waiting for the British government to publish the list of companies which were hand-in-glove with Saddam during the Kurd-killing Thatcher-lovin' free-market-tastic 1980s. Surprisingly, Labour finds this quite difficult; a pity, because the thought of dragging David Mellor and a few fat corporate Tories to an ad hoc war crimes tribunal is quite a pleasant one. Hallelujah!
posted by riviera at 5:22 AM on September 5, 2002


The case against Cheney is the hypocrisy of doing business with scum when it's convenient economically, then turning around and advocating war against them when it's convenient politically.

Well said! And to top it all off, they claim a higher moral purpose. I feel like the whole world is on candid camera.
posted by quirked at 6:13 AM on September 5, 2002


Most developing countries are dictatorships, kleptocracies, or one-party states, with on-going human rights problems. Well, that's why they're still 'developing'. Suppose US and other companies did not do business with such states? Would would the result be? Pretty much the same as the current situation in Iraq under the sanctions. Dictators always seem to find the money to buy weapons and build monuments to themselves, but not to fund prenatal care, infant nutrition or immunization programs.

It is absurd of the left to complain when US companies do not do business with a dictatorship, thus supposedly causing the hundreds of thousands of excess infant deaths in Iraq, and also complain when they do do business with them.

Of course, perhaps Ms. Ivins doesn't really care about whether her position makes any sense, but is just looking for a chance to bash a prominent Republican, and hopes no one will look at her logic that closely.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:05 AM on September 5, 2002


It is absurd of the left to complain when US companies do not do business with a dictatorship, thus supposedly causing the hundreds of thousands of excess infant deaths in Iraq, and also complain when they do do business with them.

Slithy, are you following the discussion? Cheney denied that his company did business with Iraq; not once, but on several occasions. He lied, in other words. Follow raysmj's link. If there was nothing embarrassing about it, why didn't he simply own up?
posted by norm29 at 7:55 AM on September 5, 2002


So Cheney lied about doing business with the madman he now plans to go to war with. It's not as if he lied about blowjobs or other grave matters of state.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:29 AM on September 5, 2002


The public seems to think (fools that they all are) that when someone works for a company, they naturally do the best for that company - and likewise hopes that if that same person then holds office in the US, they will (gasp) actually do what they consider best for the US.

Please share the clues that led you to this conclusion about what "the public seems to think." It sounds like basic moral relativism to me, and I thought this was a battle between good n' evil?
posted by Dr. Boom at 9:42 AM on September 5, 2002


norm29, I'm following fine. She's spends most of the op/ed piece not complaining that Cheney's facts were wrong, but that Halliburton, and others, do business at all with nations with poor human rights records.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:50 PM on September 5, 2002


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