As a senator during World War II, Harry Truman led a committee to investigate "waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and profiteering" on the part of businesses seeking to enrich themselves at public expense in time of war. He argued that such behavior was unpatriotic, and in some cases even tantamount to "treason." Evidently our understanding of patriotism isn't what it used to be.
Last week, Larry Margasak of the Associated Press reported that "The Bush administration's Iraq reconstruction plan appears to overcharge taxpayers some $200 million for the purchase and importation of petroleum products, according to a congressional report obtained Thursday." Margasak also noted that "Houston-based Halliburton is the government's sole contractor working in Iraq to restore the country's petroleum industry and to import petroleum products while the system is being repaired." From 1999-2000 Halliburton (whose CEO from 1995-2000 was Dick Cheney) made political contributions in the amount of $709,320. Ninety-five percent of this money went to Republicans and $17,677 directly to George Bush.