Protecting the troops is secondary to protecting the oil fields
The following exchange between Rep. John F. Tierney (D-MA) and Halliburton/KBR's director of government compliance, William Walter, shows that the Bush administration began planning for troop safety long after it made plans to secure the safety of Iraq's oil fields. ###
Mr. TIERNEY. OK. Now, when GAO issued yesterday's report on
LOGCAP [Halliburton's troop support contract], one of their key findings was that the planning for the
use of LOGCAP's contract to support the troops in Iraq did not
begin until after the fall of Baghdad. You looked at that report and
didn't make any objections or corrections, so we are assuming that
is an agreeable statement with you? That is when the planning
started, after Baghdad fell?
Mr. WALTER. For the work in Iraq, yes, sir.
Mr. TIERNEY. So it is a little astonishing to me, and I think to
others, the planning for what is going to happen to our troops,
their meals, their water, their housing, the essentials of life, their
protection, all of that doesn't even begin to happen until May 2003,
after Baghdad falls, but in the meantime the administration had
your company planning for Iraq's oil infrastructure months before
it had a plan how to support our troops. The GAO report also indicated
that the Army failed to follow its own guidelines. The Army's guidance
recommends a comprehensive statement of work be developed in the early
phases of the contingency planning. Can I take it that you were never charged by the
Department of Defense to start the planning with respect to the
support of the troops; and that it wasn't a case of your delaying it
on your own?
Mr. WALTER. In Iraq, yes. We were already involved in the planning
in many other areas, in Kuwait, in Afghanistan, in Djibouti
and other locations. So we have been working with the Army in
many other locations.
Mr. TIERNEY. So despite the contact that you had with them,
they never asked you to start the contingency planning for the
troop situation in Iraq until May 2003?
Mr. WALTER. To the best of my knowledge, yes.
Mr. TIERNEY. I think it is just disturbing, when we look at these
priorities, that we have troops living in tents, eating MREs through
August 2003, because there hadn't been adequate prewar planning
for dining facilities and housing. We have heard reports over and
over again that our troops didn't have enough body armor or armored
(See the transcript of the hearing, page 565 of the hardcopy version
or page 573 of the pdf version. Click here for the pdf version of the transcript.)