April 29, 2007

Rethinking No-Bid Contracts

First, in the spirit of full disclosure, I'd like to divulge the fact that, until recently, I owned Halliburton stock. I dumped it when the misunderstanding which developed surrounding certain unintended KBR billing overages made me nervous. It's one thing to add extra sand to the concrete, after all Iraq has plenty of sand, but please, no-bid contractors, don't mess with my boys' MREs.

War profiteering has a long noble history in this country, and over the years it has created a lot of millionaires, so when the US marched on Baghdad to get those WMDs, I fought the feeling of being powerless over my own government the only way I knew how: I bought stock in corporations that manufacture weapons or otherwise supply our military.

I reasoned that, since my tax dollars were pouring into these companies I had every right to tap some back out. It's like springtime, when the sap begins to rise in the great sugar maples of North America. That is the time to pound your little metal tube into the xylem. Where is the ethical dilemma in that?

But now it's starting to look like a few bad apples are trying to ruin this war for the rest of us. Critical infrastructure projects built in Iraq by US contractors are "crumbling" even before the "Made in the USA" labels peel off. Could some of our corporate citizens have behaved in an unscrupulous manner? I thought Sarbanes-Oxley was supposed to fix all of that. Perhaps now we can rid ourselves of the onerous accounting burden of this typically liberal-knows-best legislation. It's a pity that Ken Lay isn't alive to see it.

 As for me, I'm about to reinvest the money I made off of Armor Holdings, the little company that cornered the market on up-armoring Humvees,  and I'm starting an export company. [FYI- Humvees are produced by a privately-held company and I couldn't figure out how to buy  their stock.] I'm calling the new venture "Blackbush Trading Company." In 4Q '07 Phase One of the business plan commences, when we lobby Prince Bandar for the exclusive rights to sell Just For Men Gel to the House of Saud. We'll be doing our patriotic best to level out the trade imbalance in viscous black liquids.

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