Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

War profiteering out of control

Abraham Lincoln created the False Claims Act to punish war profiteers, to allow whistle-blowers to file suit for fraud on behalf of the tax-paying public.

It appears former employees of Halliburton subsidiary KBR are coming forward and doing just that.

Much of their testimony is, for some strange reason sealed... but there is much that is now coming out. Maybe someday we'll know the whole truth. Under another administration. This one keeps it's secrets -- and profiteering is obviously one of them.

One particularly grisly story is about a KBR truck that was used as a mortuary in the hot, Iraqi sun... then packed with ice and food -- without even being cleaned.

I'd rather not go into detail... I'll let the author do that horrible job.

In the midday heat of June 16, 2003, Conyers was summoned to fix a broken refrigerated truck-a "reefer," in contractor parlance-at Log Base Seitz, on the edge of Baghdad's airport. He and his colleagues had barely begun to inspect the sealed trailer when they found themselves reeling from a nauseating stench. The freezer was powered by the engine, and only after they got it running again, several hours later, did they dare open the doors.

The trailer, unit number R-89, had been lying idle for two weeks, Conyers says, in temperatures that daily reached 120 degrees. "Inside, there were 15 human bodies," he recalls. "A lot of liquid stuff had just seeped out. There were body parts on the floor: eyes, fingers. The goo started seeping toward us. Boom! We shut the doors again." The corpses were Iraqis, who had been placed in the truck by a U.S. Army mortuary unit that was operating in the area. That evening, Conyers's colleague Wallace R. Wynia filed an official report: "On account of the heat the bodies were decomposing rapidly.... The inside of the trailer was awful."

It is not unheard of for trucks in a war zone to perform hearse duty. But both civilian and U.S.-military regulations state that once a trailer has been used to store corpses it can never again be loaded with food or drink intended for human consumption. According to the U.S. Army's Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, "Contact with whole or part human remains carries potential risks associated with pathogenic microbiological organisms that may be present in human blood and tissue." The diseases that may be communicated include aids,hepatitis, tuberculosis, septicemia, meningitis, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human variant of mad cow.

But when Bud Conyers next caught sight of trailer R-89, about a month later, it was packed not with human casualties but with bags of ice-ice that was going into drinks served to American troops. He took photographs, showing the ice bags, the trailer number, and the wooden decking, which appeared to be stained red. Another former KBR employee, James Logsdon, who now works as a police officer near Enid, says he first saw R-89 about a week after Conyers's grisly discovery. "You could still see a little bit of matter from the bodies, stuff that looked kind of pearly, and blood from the stomachs. It hadn't even been hosed down. Afterwards, I saw that truck in the P.W.C.-the public warehouse center-several times. There's nothing there except food and ice. It was backed up to a dock, being loaded."

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1 Comments:

Blogger Geoff Elliott said...

Thank you for your insightful blog. In regards to war profiteering, are you aware that the Armour Meat Company basically got rich from selling rancid meat to the U.S. government during the Civil War? Other companies made huge amounts of money by selling shoddy shoes and clothing.

Amazing how history repeats itself.

Geoff Elliott

The Abraham Lincoln Blog

http://abrahamlincolnblog.blogspot.com

12:37 PM  

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