[ExI] extropy-chat Digest, Vol 55, Issue 2

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Apr 1 18:47:46 UTC 2008

John K Clark wrote
>Damien, I read your link but frankly I am not
>impressed. It's a fact that
>there are not many organizations that can provide the
>services that Halliburton can and do so in a war
>zone, and so they charge accordingly. I
>can't see where they did anything Enron level bad
>much less committed a government grade horror. I'm
>not saying Halliburton is incapable of being
>a little naughty from time to time, but compared with
>routine governmentgrade evil it's a little like a
>prison guard at Auschwitz raging about the
>injustice of it all because somebody put a whoopee
>cushion on his chair.

>  John K Clark

Halliburton is hired to help do two things - rebuild
Iraq's oil industry and perform logistical support to
the US military. Rebuilding Iraq's oil industry could
be done by a great many oil companies if they were
given decent security backup. As for logistical
support - true, not many commercial organisations can
do what Halliburton can. However, there's are two
radical alternatives to hiring contractors at fat
1)reinstate the draft and have young men truck the
stuff through Iraq much like their dads did for
Vietnam - not an electorally popular move, but making
strong use of America's resources.
2)Having allies. This may come as a radical view, but
if the Bush administration had spent a little more
time building an international coalition, he might
have been able to have more areas of Iraq being
handled by non-US forces.
 Afghanistan has a great many NATO countries involved
- OK, the coalition creaks a little as the
US,UK,Canada and Belgium take all the danger zones
(and the UK gets to take on the world heroin
production capital) while other countries take on the
more stable parts, but it works. Many countries are
persuaded that it's worth putting in effort for a
stable Afghanistan. 
 If this had been done for Iraq, there'd be less need
for Halliburton and the cost of the war would be
partially born by other nations and the overall total
might be lower, as it would avoid some of the
"contractor corruption" widely reported in the media.
 Of course, to do that would have required
negotiation, taking time and actually having credible
intelligence to go to war on. Perhaps someone a few
years back should have thought "You know, this
intelligence isn't that strong and most nations aren't
buying it. Why are we buying it? Are we that sure it's
worth losing thousands of our troops over?"

Meanwhile...$500 billion on...everyone's got a pet
project that they think would help the world, advance
human civilisation, do something amazing - and many of
them have far, far smaller pricetags. Sometimes you've
got to wonder at the waste of it all.


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