Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The "Culture Of Corruption" Continues In Washington

One of the most blatant warnings of outgoing President, and former decorated General, Dwight Eisenhower, was concern of the "military-industrial complex" to corrupt America. Another example of this corruption hit the fan yesterday, when former decoratedVietnam War Navy pilot, and current Congressman, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a Republican from California, pleaded guilty to public corruption charges of accepting bribes from a military contractor in exchange for steering contracts to this company.

Cunningham may have collected more than $2 million from at least one defense contractor, including a Rolls Royce, a mansion, a yacht, antiques and other collectables. In one case the CEO of a defense contractor company bought the old home of Cunningham, but then sold it for a $700,000 loss, it a form of scheme to funnel money to this Congressman.

Just like the warning of Eisenhower, this "culture of corruption" prevades some issues involving some defense contractors. One defense contractor once billed the Pentagon for hundreds of dollars for one inch pieces of metal with two holes drilled in it. A diesel engine glow plug wire that is absolutely the identical one that sells in auto parts stores for less than $20, was sold to the Pentagon for about $400 each. The Pentagon routinely offers so-called "surplus" military goods on Websites for pennies on the dollar to war surplus businesses, yet often reorders new identical equipment. And troops in the Iraq War, especially the 40% who are Natiional Guard members are sent to Iraq with severe shortages of radios, ammunition, armored Humvees, and other vital goods, which needlessly created many more American dead and wounded.

And much of the Bush military and foreign policy team was comprised of former defense contractor CEOs, paid consultants or major stockholders of defense contractor companies, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowityz, John Bolton and others who were members of the Project For The New American Century who since 1997 attempted to promote a new war in Iraq, largely for the purpose of benefitiing defense contractors with a huge financial windfall created by a new war. And the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force were each replaced with former defense contractor CEOS or major stockholders, for the first time in American history. Even the wife of Dick Cheney, Lynne Cheney was a major holder of Lockheed Martin stock, and could stand to handsomely profit from the Iraq War before the war was started in dramaticly increased defense contracts to this company.

The guilty plea of Rep. Cunningham is no doubt only the tip of the iceberg. An entire "culture of corruption" prevades this Bush Administration which planned the Iraq War largely to profit big military contractors. In fact 33 major members of the Bush Administration have defense contractor ties, while 43 members of the Bush Administration have oil industry ties, including Dr. Condoleezza Rice a former Chevron Board Of Directors member.

Halliburton, the former company of which Dick Cheney was the CEO, was given billions of dollars in no-bid contracts by the Bush Administration. Yet much of these billions were yet to be spent on the Iraq War reconstruction projects, while Halliburton made excessively large charges to the federal government including large charges for cases of soda pop. Even a female ordained minister who was a Halliburton employee, has found absolutely no justification for some of the charges of Halliburton to the federal government. This minister was once a major defender of Halliburton, but now has become very concerned about these excessive charges.

It is not known how much of all of this is legal, but certainly much of it offends the ethics of what claims to be a "values" driven administration. But the case of Cunningham, as well as the questionable series of defense contractor intersts in propelling the Iraq War, as well as Pentagon mismanagement, defense contractor thefts, and other problems seems to indicate that a wide spread "culture of corruption" at worse or ineptness at least, prevades this morally horrid administration.

According to Seymour Hersch, from the New Yorker Magazine, Mr. Bush thinks that "God put him in office" to promote the Iraq War as a "war of liberation" for the people of Iraq. But there is absolutely no indication in any portion of the Old or New Testament that God raised up leaders to promote a "culture of corruption". Mr. Bush is either seriously mislead by many with a lack of honesty and candor, or else a manipulative politician who simply invokes the name of God to put a justification on one of the worst "cultures of corruption" yet seen in American politics. Time will decide which one is the truth.

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