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February 19, 2009

New Tomdispatch


The Military's Expanding Waistline
What Will Obama Do With KBR?

By Pratap Chatterjee

President Obama will almost certainly touch down in Baghdad and Kabul in Air Force One sometime in the coming year to meet his counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he will just as certainly pay a visit to a U.S. military base or two. Should he stay for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight chow with the troops, he will no less certainly choose from a menu prepared by migrant Asian workers under contract to Houston-based KBR, the former subsidiary of Halliburton.

If Barack Obama takes the Rhino Runner armor-plated bus from Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone, or travels by Catfish Air's Blackhawk helicopters (the way mere mortals like diplomats and journalists do), instead of by presidential chopper, he will be assigned a seat by U.S. civilian workers easily identified by the red KBR lanyards they wear around their necks.

Even if Obama gets the ultra-red carpet treatment, he will still tread on walkways and enter buildings that have been constructed over the last six years by an army of some 50,000 workers in the employ of KBR. And should Obama chose to order the troops in Iraq home tomorrow, he will effectively sign a blank check for billions of dollars in withdrawal logistics contracts that will largely be carried out by a company once overseen by Dick Cheney.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 19, 2009 10:35 PM

KBR UR friend for a long, long time to come. KEEP PAYING KEEP PLAYING.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 20, 2009 01:42 AM

Did anyone but me get that we now have a black president paying a corporation to keep indentured servants in service to our military forces? Who wants to bet that KBR is keeping sex slaves somewhere back of the kitchen?

Posted by: Pangolin at February 20, 2009 03:27 AM

Analysis: If it doesn't matter who the President is, maybe it isn't the President who's running the show. Maybe the diagram of our tripartite government doesn't actually reflect the true division of power in our country.

Just saying.

Posted by: Bob In Pacifica at February 20, 2009 10:25 AM

I feel quite hopeful after reading this. "Too fat to fight" might be the best thing that ever happened to the U.S. military (or the world.) We know that our political system provides absolutely no restraint on the imperialistic impulses of our rulers, maybe military-industrial bloat will?

Posted by: SteveB at February 21, 2009 08:51 AM