Statement on War Profiteering

Iowa City, IA, November 11, 2003

“In 1940, Senator Harry Truman set off in his old Dodge to investigate accusations of war profiteering in the construction of Fort Leonard Wood in south-central Missouri. What he found appalled him—millions of dollars being wasted due to mismanagement or funneled into the hands of a small number of large corporations at taxpayers' expense. Soon thereafter, Congress established what became known as the Truman Commission to root out war profiteering and establish oversight of defense contracts.

“But similar attempts at oversight in Iraq have been thwarted by the Bush Administration. When Congress voted to give this President an additional $87 billion for his war in Iraq, both the House and Senate agreed to attach a provision that would require the General Accounting Office to conduct ongoing audits of how our taxpayer money is being spent. Instead, the White House and Tom Delay strong-armed Senate Republicans into killing the provision.

“And now, in Iraq, the United States finds itself reliant upon massive corporations to protect and rebuild a country destroyed by war. And this time around, there is no Truman Commission to ensure that American taxpayers are not getting swindled.

“According to a recent study by the Center for Public Integrity, more than 70 American companies and individuals have won up to $8 billion in contracts for work in postwar Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two years. Those companies donated more money to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush—a little over $500,000--than to any other politician over the last dozen years.

“Kellogg, Brown & Root, the subsidiary of Halliburton—which Vice President Dick Cheney led prior to being chosen as Bush's running mate in August 2000--was the top recipient of federal contracts for the two countries, with more than $2.3 billion awarded to the company.

“We need to know how this money is being spent. We need to ask these questions for our veterans and more importantly for our troops in Iraq. Every penny wasted means only one thing: our troops will be there longer. This is how we will most honor veterans.”

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