I am writing in response to Jamie McDermott's letter in Sunday's Empire. I am a veteran of the U.S. Army, and I have nothing but the most respect and honor for those of our fighting forces overseas; their bravery in the face of determined daily lethal opposition is an inspiration to us all. However, I must take exception to his statement that we are not a nation of greed and invaders. President "Dubya" Bush and his cronies have turned us into one over the past couple of years while we watched, believing his lies about WMDs and imagined threats from Iraq - not to mention his and his father's ties to the Taliban leadership prior to and after the 9-11 disaster. I have recently done a lot of online research on this topic and here are my results.
As for why we are in Iraq, the following is still public record in spite of the Bush administration's attempts to conceal these facts:
The Washington Post reported that Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, has won contracts worth billions of dollars out of Operation Iraqi Freedom from no-bid contracts BushCo awarded it. Here is a partial breakdown:
Fully one-third of the $3.9 billion per month cost of keeping U.S. troops in Iraq is going directly to Halliburton.
$1 billion has been paid Halliburton through mid-August alone, plus ...
$705 million for an initial round of oil field work.
$142 million for base camp operations in Kuwait.
$170 million for logistical support for Iraqi reconstruction.
$28 million for construction of POW camps.
$39 million for base camps in Jordan.
$183 million for Afghanistan.
A staggering $300 million jumbo contract for the Navy, and (brace yourself) ...
An eye-popping $7 billion to put out non-existent fires at Iraqi oil wells.
The sheer size of Halliburton's incredible windfall from BushCo is breathtaking - and, there's no end in sight!
Do the math: Can there be any doubt why we are in Iraq?
As for the Bush Family Taliban ties, I invite you to call the White House Comments Line @ (202) 456-1414 and ask the following questions:
1. Why, when all private and commercial airplanes were grounded following 9-11, was a Bin Laden jet allowed to fly across the country to pick up some two-dozen Bin Laden family members and return them to Saudi Arabia? Why did you allow this to happen against the vociferous complaints of the FBI, who hadn't even been allowed to question them?
2. Why is it the case that for the past two decades whenever your father, George Bush Sr., visits Saudi Arabia, he stays at the Bin Laden Palace, home to Osama's parents?
3. Is it only a coincidence your father is on the payroll of the Carlyle Group, a $15 billion oil and military investment group backed by the Bin Laden family?
4. Why did you host the Taliban leadership in Houston in 1995 while you were governor of Texas? What were your personal and financial interests in ironing out Unocal and Halliburton deals with the Taliban at that time?
5. Vice President Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton, the world's largest oil pipeline manufacturer, during the 1990s. Will you finally admit that Cheney, through September 2001, used his influence as vice president to make deals with the Taliban and others to build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan down to a failing Enron power plant in Dabhol, India, near Bombay? Isn't it true that a Taliban representative was in Washington, D.C. on 9-11 to discuss that very project?
6. Why is it that the unfolding scandal of Halliburton's own corrupt accounting practices, similar to Enron's, costing taxpayers and stockholders hundreds of millions of dollars, which occurred while Cheney was CEO in the late '90s, is given so little attention in the media at this time?
Brave and honorable men like Jamie McDermott follow the orders of their commander-in-chief and are subsequently killed every day on the battle field lately because men like Bush and Cheney have indeed turned us into a nation of greedy invaders who are pariahs in the eyes of most of the world now.
May God help us all.
Skot Pierson of Juneau is an Army veteran who served in Germany, Georgia and South Carolina between 1979-99.