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Halliburton's Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War

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Halliburton’s Army is the first book to show, in shocking detail, how Halliburton really does business, in Iraq, and around the world. From its vital role as the logistical backbone of the U.S. occupation in Iraq—without Halliburton there could be no war or occupation—to its role in covering up gang-rape amongst its personnel in Baghdad, Halliburton’s Army is a devastating bestiary of corporate malfeasance and political cronyism. Pratap Chatterjee—one of the world’s leading authorities on corporate crime, fraud, and corruption—shows how Halliburton won and then lost its contracts in Iraq, what Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld did for it, and who the company paid off in the U.S. Congress. He brings us inside the Pentagon meetings, where Cheney and Rumsfeld made the decision to send Halliburton to Iraq—as well as many other hot-spots, including Somalia, Yugoslavia, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, and, most recently, New Orleans. He travels to Dubai, where Halliburton has recently moved its headquarters, and exposes the company’s freewheeling executives leading the high life, bribes, graft, skimming, offshore subsidiaries, and the whole arsenal of fraud. Finally, Chatterjee reveals the human costs of the privatization of American military affairs, which is sustained almost entirely by low-paid unskilled Third World workers who work in incredibly dangerous conditions without any labor protection. Halliburton’s Army is a hair-raising exposé of one of the world’s most lethal corporations, essential reading for anyone concerned about the nexus of private companies, government, and war.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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Pratap Chatterjee

11 books11 followers

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Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Ben.
179 reviews13 followers
February 24, 2009

Halliburton's Army: How A Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized The Way America Makes War

By Pratap Chatterjee
Nation Books
304 pages

Pratap Chatterjee, director of CorpWatch, a dogged, effective monitor of corporate malfeasance, has a long track record as a muckraking journalist. The dirt he uncovers on Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld's favorite company in Halliburton's Army could help provide grounds for an interesting, and gratifying, series of court cases.

The "army" of the title is staffed with Asians and other workers of color paid scanty wages to toil at crappy jobs once performed by U.S. soldiers. Chatterjee argues that this contracting has made U.S. warfare cheaper by allowing the Pentagon to spend fewer dollars training troops. The workers on the bottom of the ladder aren't getting much, while "cost-plus" and no-bid contracts, price-gouging, and kickbacks have shoveled tens of millions Halliburton's way. A whistleblower involved in an audit that she discovered was really a cover-up estimated that the cost of supporting Halliburton/KBR managers in Kuwait City was $73 million per year. To quote Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) within the book, when the Army outsources "this much work on contract management, they really are outsourcing oversight."

Chatterjee, author of 2004's Iraq, Inc: A Profitable Occupation, pulls together a vast amount of information (much of it gathered from trips as a reporter in Iraq and Dubai, where Halliburton moved for sunnier tax climes). At times it threatens to overwhelm his narrative. Harried publishing in tight economic times may be the reason for an excess of subsections with different typefaces — given the impressive reportage, the overall presentation is a bit jumbled. Nonetheless, Halliburton's Army is an important resource.
67 reviews7 followers
April 11, 2009
I love those wild and crazy war profiteers. They're a riot.

Tricky Dick Cheney is always up to some kooky hijinx. Whether it's creating favorable conditions for companies to profit off war. Or presiding as Chairman of those very same companies and personally reaping massive profits. Or even starting wars so the same companies can make obscene profits for subpar/dangerous quality goods and services. For the latter, he won't profit from it. After all, he had a blind trust. Once he leaves office he'll surely shy away from all his friends in those companies who will want to pat him on the back for filling the trough.

There's a special place for people like Cheney.

In all honesty, this book was well researched and documented. That is a bad thing because this war profiteering continues. I recommend reading this book to get you fired up about these types of people and companies.

Peace sells, but who is buying?

Most unfortunate.
Profile Image for Simon Wood.
215 reviews127 followers
September 3, 2013

So was the catchphrase amongst management at that patriotic provider of military services Halliburton and their subsidiary Kellogs, Brown and Root who are the subject of this fine piece of muck-raking journalism by CorpWatch's Pratap Chatterjee.

The first part of Chatterjees "Haliburton's Army" patiently sets the context within which companies such as Halliburton were to become recepients of multi-billion dollar contracts during the Gulf War. The story of the two chief architects of the farming out of military services, Dick and Donald (Cheney and Rumsfeld), is laid before the readers in depressing detail, from their time together around the end of the Nixon administration on through the Ford administration to the period when they were vice-president and defence secretary in the Bush II administration. In between times Donald uses his government experience and a complete lack of scruples to push forward the agendas of private companies he works for, with occasional work for the Regan administration including cosying up with Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Dick runs for public office and has a political career that includes being Bush I's defence secretary, where his influential review sets the scene for contracting out military services, before going on to lead Halliburton for several years. There is also a review of the contracting out policies and experiences of the US military from World War Two onwards including Vietnam, the 1990-91 Gulf War onto the Balkans where the process really begins to take off.

The scene is now set for the crimes and misdemeanours to come, and come they do, by the tanker load. Overcharges for services provided and unprovided, massive price gouging on imported fuel, exploitation of third world nationals as well as their American who are variously uninsured, low waged and unpaid, lied to and expendable. Whistleblowers are not only harrassed out of Halliburton, but cast out of the military, all under the approving eye of the Bush II administration. While Chatterjee's focus is on Halliburton, he does range wider to look into the exploits of Halliburtons sub-contractors and "competitors".

This is a fine expose of an unscrupulous company in a mercanary business, sheltering under the umbrella of a corrupt and brutal administration during a scoundrel time. And though the Iraq fiasco has been consigned to the dust bin of history the lessons of this book are no doubt pertinent to current events in Afghanistan and god knows where else in the future.

Other books worth reading that cover similar territory would include T.Christian Millers "Blood Money", and Jeremy Scahills "Blackwater" which looks at the even more disturbing world of privatised soldiers in Iraq.
Profile Image for JoAnn.
119 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2009
This is a book that every American should read. It could easily be called the Fleecing of America by an American Company.
This book spells travesty through out each of its pages.

It is well documented and soundly provided as an attempt to show the American people just what we have allowed in this nation. Certainly, it points to an almost financial fall of America by those only too willing to reach into the pockets of every place this nation had funds.

The benign neglect and outrageous oversight that went on during the 10 years or so that Halliburton was allowed to write their own ticket in this country is just hard to understand as a logical and reasonable American.

Thank God that as soon as Obama got in, he immediately terminated the practice of allowing contracts to be awarded without bidding. This was one of the worst cases of lack of control on the part of the American government. It is well documented and well versed in this book!

You must read this book!
478 reviews7 followers
April 30, 2009
Thorough, terrifying. I don't really know what to say except that I'm glad I read it and horrified (though not surprised) by the new things I learned from it.
Profile Image for Deena Scintilla.
674 reviews
August 3, 2009
The more I read the more angry I get so it has to be done in small increments. Definitely not to be read if one has high blood pressure.
47 reviews
July 31, 2021
I can give this book 4.5 stars because the yeoman’s work done here to really cast a wide net over the many contracts and sub-contractors of the truly awfully conducted invasion and occupational Iraq. It is filled with a mix of anecdote a data, but not at the fault of the author but instead because of the incestuous relationship of the administration that prosecuted this war, the company Dick Cheney stopped being the CEO of to be VP, and the Justice Department and Pentagon failing to follow up.

The material is compelling and extensive all by itself, and even though it ends around 2008 it’s important to have these documented in a relatively easy to digest way for the public.

Especially interesting is the origin story of Halliburton, KBR and their govt contracting. So, identifying the true depth and cause of all of the corruption in and around Halliburton and specifically KBR and the LOGCAP process begun in the 90s is pretty fascinating stuff!
Profile Image for Chris Bauer.
Author 6 books35 followers
December 10, 2016
Exceptionally well-researched, full of dark anecdotes and tales of outright greed - Chatterjee delves deep into the world of Halliburton. He explores the company from its humble roots as an oil well / concrete company and its eventual expansion into the global stage.

Very unflattering portraits of both Cheney and Rumsfield abound. I understand the book came about by way of a Rolling Stone expose, which may account for the negative tone of its topic.

I found myself repelled by the avarice depicted in some of the strategic decisions of the company but continually reminded myself that there is an entirely different side to the contents.

Exceptionally detailed (too much so at times), I found myself questioning more and more of the conclusions. Dry, but informative. I got the sense that 90% of the book was impartial and fact-based, but the other 10% I'm not so sure of.

Still. This non-fiction work is a chilling example of what happens at the intersection of government and private sector industry.
Profile Image for Diane C..
840 reviews17 followers
November 23, 2009
Have read books about Iraq war, Halliburton and other contactors, etc. In this book, the strongest point the author made was that with a volunteer army, the U.S. had to provide cushy services at war.

And once they did, corruption and abuse ran rampant. Private contractors come at too high a price, literally and figuratively.

That said, should men and women at war go w/o, will they be tough enough? When they are making such a great sacrifice, shouldn't we pamper them a bit if we can? It's complicated. I don't know enough about military matters to answer that question.

This book challenged my assumptions.
52 reviews1 follower
October 24, 2009
Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown, and Root, and their subcontractors have committed to so many human rights violations I can't begin to list them. This may be the classic example of what happens when services are privatized, particularly when the companies involved have are completely focused on profit and have no regard for workers. I now join the chorus demanding Rumsfeld and Cheney be tried for international rights violations, along with all the management at Halliburton/KBR.
Profile Image for Fredrick Danysh.
6,844 reviews159 followers
January 11, 2016
From Vietnam to the present the American government has been hiring firms to perform more and more of the functions that the military used to provide themselves. Corruption and cost over runs multiplied with large salaries for managers while paying minimum wages to those actually doing the work, often in harm's way. Is taxpayer money really being saved in the long run through private contracts? This is a book American citen voters should read.
Profile Image for Altonmann.
34 reviews8 followers
January 19, 2011
This "book" was never actually written. It's merely a dumpster filled with research - although the research is quite enlightening. If someone had taken this undigested research and shaped it into a coherent narrative, it might be worth 3 or 4 stars.
258 reviews1 follower
August 18, 2016
Maybe not a must read, but a real eye opener, from LBJ to Cheney, the board has profited immensely on the back of the Washington Hawks and the GI. Shame on them. Short term gain from long term destructive consequences. Glad I read it, along with Moneyball.
102 reviews
February 21, 2010
Excellent research into the eye-opening transformation of the US military machine over the last decade.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

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