A sleep disorder characterized by frequent nightmares is dream anxiety disorder which often portrays the individual in a situation that jeopardizes their life or personal safety. There are, however, nightmare scenarios that occur during waking hours and they are generally induced by images or sounds related to frightening situations from past experiences that were life-threatening or at the very least, terror inducing events. Last Thursday, America’s recurring nightmare, Dick Cheney, gathered conservatives together to raise money for Willard Romney’s presidential bid at a country club where Romney called him a “great American leader” that should give Americans a foretaste of a Romney presidency if Cheney is his idea of American greatness. Yesterday, the nightmare visited Washington to warn Senate Republicans of the national security implications of the impending $500 billion defense budget cuts resulting from sequestration in last year’s deficit reduction debacle. However, convicted war criminal Cheney was not concerned about security implications as much as profit implications to his former company Halliburton if the defense cuts proceed as planned.
The connection between Cheney’s warning and Halliburton were not lost on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who noted that Halliburton flourished after Cheney became vice president, profiting handsomely from government contracts during the war in Iraq. Reid said, “We know that before he became vice president, he worked for Halliburton, and Halliburton did extremely well during his time as vice president, and I assume there’s going to be some concern about Halliburton again in this conversation they’re going to have today.” Reid was not invited to the meeting, but one did not have to be present to conclude the impetus for Cheney’s interest was profits for Halliburton and their myriad subsidiaries that were handed no-bid contracts for their “services” in Iraq. There is also a connection between Cheney and Romney who has gathered many of the Bush/Cheney principles responsible for pushing for the war in Iraq, and are serving as Romney’s war cabinet drumming up support for a “very substantial war” if they can entice Israel to attack Iran.
It is no small coincidence that huge potential profits are paramount to Romney and Cheney, or that profits come at the expense of Americans’ lives. There were serious questions arising from the Bush White House awarding no-bid contracts to Cheney’s former company at the start of the Iraq war, and interestingly, the concept of no-bid Pentagon contracts originated with none other than America’s nightmare himself, Dick Cheney.
In 1992, the Department of Defense (DOD) commissioned Halliburton to author a study that concluded it would be a “terrific idea” to privatize billions of dollars’ worth of military work, “so they helped design the architecture for privatizing a lot of what happens today in the Pentagon when we have military engagements,” according to Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity. The Secretary of Defense in 1992 was none other than Dick Cheney who commissioned the Halliburton study and “shockingly” became the CEO of Halliburton in 1995. Lewis asked, “Why would a defense secretary, former chief of staff to a president and former member of Congress with no business experience become the CEO of a multibillion-dollar oil services company,” and provided the glaringly obvious answer; “He was brought in to raise their government contract profile and he did.” Subsequently, while Cheney was CEO, Halliburton nearly doubled the value of federal contracts it received – from $1.2 to $2.3 billion, and as Lewis pointed out, many former high-ranking military officers work for companies seeking federal contracts and that they “set up the system for themselves and they’re doing quite well.”
They were also doing it at great profit, but not without legal problems related to overcharges and allegations that the Army Corps of Engineers contracting division unfairly awarded no-bid, multi-billion dollar contracts to Halliburton for work in Iraq. In fact, one month before the invasion of Iraq began, a $7-billion no-bid contract was awarded to Kellogg Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary. The Army Corps chief contracting officer who brought the investigation said the five-year contract was unjustified, and it earned a warning by superiors to stop interfering and a threat of demotion if she continued exercising “due diligence” in her work. The Pentagon investigated Halliburton for overcharging Iraqi civilians for fuel deliveries, and a subsidiary, KBR, agreed to refund $27 million for overbillings at military dining halls in Iraq. Cheney foreshadowed Romney’s current SEC problems, and after an investigation and Cheney’s sworn testimony, Halliburton paid the SEC $7.5 million for disclosure issues related to document changes between 1998 and 1999. It begs the question; are Romney’s disclosure issues déjà vu, common CEO practices, or a recurring nightmare for the American people?
Romney understands that although Dick Cheney is still a neo-con hero, the American people have a slightly different opinion and forbid photographs with the former vice president and convicted war criminal, but accepted the $4 million donors paid to see a “great American leader.” The press reported on Cheney’s fundraiser for Romney, as well his visit with Senate Republicans to warn of defense cuts that will hurt Halliburton’s bottom line, but they have not covered the massive social program cuts resulting from Republican intransigence to a balanced approach to deficit reduction that caused S&P to downgrade America’s stellar credit rating.
Romney has been compared to George W. Bush, and he praised “President George W. Bush’s freedom agenda” profusely at the fundraiser. Cheney reprised the 9/11 fear-mongering and said, “When I think about the kind of individual I want in the Oval Office in that moment of crisis, who has to make those key life-and-death decisions as commander-in-chief for sending some of our young men and women into harm’s way, that man is Mitt Romney.” Willard criticized President Obama’s foreign policies without mentioning one and said, “The foreign policy mistakes, I believe, may be even longer lasting in their negative impact on the country.” The negative impact of a Romney presidency is well-known to Americans, because he has already followed Cheney’s deceitful business path, and by hiring the Bush-Cheney Iraq war council as his foreign policy advisors, portends the 2001-2008 nightmare the American people suffered through under the last Republican administration.
The similarities between Cheney and Romney are striking, and besides untoward business practices and draft dodging cowardice, the simple fact that Romney considers Cheney “a great American leader” should frighten the life out of Americans if he is elected president. If any American wants to know who Romney really is, look at Cheney as Halliburton CEO, warmongering vice president, his SEC problems, and quake at the prospect of four years of non-stop, fully-conscious recurring nightmares.