Friday, July 14, 2006

Halliburton gets pink slip

After four years and hundreds of complaints about price-gouging, overbilling and just plain incompetence, the US Army has canceled the exclusive Iraq rebuilding contract under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP - held by Halliburton, of which Vice President Cheney is the former CEO.
Army to End Expansive, Exclusive Halliburton Deal
Logistics Contract to Be Open for Bidding

By Griff Witte
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 12, 2006; A01

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.
Here's where it gets funny:
Of the more than $18 billion Congress allocated for reconstruction in late 2003, more than two-thirds has been spent and more than 90 percent has been contractually obligated, according to the inspector general's office overseeing reconstruction work. The rest of the money, which is collectively known as the Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund, needs to be obligated by the end of September.
But with that $18 billion, they still haven't come close to doing the job they were contracted for, and claimed that they would be able to accomplish:
[The US inspector general's office] has repeatedly warned of a "reconstruction gap" between what the United States promised in rebuilding the country after the spring 2003 invasion and what it has delivered. For instance, a contract aimed at building 142 new health centers across Iraq instead produced 20 before the program ran out of money.
Apparently, a fullfillment ratio of 142:20 is considered pretty good by both the Army and Halliburton's beancounters:
"By all accounts, KBR's logistical achievements in support of the troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan have been nothing short of amazing," said company spokeswoman Melissa Norcross in a statement.

King, the Army official, agreed yesterday. "Halliburton has done an outstanding job, under the circumstances," he said.
The WashPo has the rest of the story.

And of course, the White House is going to ask Congress to authorize another $110 billion for the Neverending Wor on Tarruour.

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