KBR Wins Contract While Under Criminal Investigation

Don’t tell me we can’t change. Yes we can!

Defense contractor KBR Inc. has been awarded a $35 million Pentagon contract involving major electrical work, even as it is under criminal investigation in the electrocution deaths of at least two U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

As Glenn Reynolds might say, “They told me if I voted for McCain we wouldn’t see the end of big contracts going to Halliburton*. And they were right!”

More seriously, this points to the absurdity of the notion that the Bush administration was funneling money to the evil corporation of the evil puppetmaster Dick Cheney for dark and nefarious purposes.  Instead, it was simply the continuation of a long trend toward hiring out to KBR that was exacerbated by the massive shift to defense contracting labor for sustaining overseas operations begun under the Clinton administration.

*Yes, I know KBR broke off from Halliburton in 2007.  Work with me here.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. mike says:

    Absolutely correct – there are not many companies that can do what KBR does in the first place – this does not mean they are not without fault – but having done work with them and been fed and housed by them in the Balkans, I can say that they get things done that the Army would have a lot of trouble doing

  2. John Davies says:

    Years ago, I asked a friend that volunteered for MoveOn.org which company they wanted to work with the government in place of Halliburton. I said that I didn’t know of any other companies that had their capabilities.

    She said that surely in a country this big there were other companies that could do a similar job. I asked again for her to name one, and she repeated her surely in a country this big comment.

    She lives in a completely different world than I do.

  3. Bithead says:

    A look at this chain of events does give rise to the question of whether or not the original charges against KBR, were politically motivated.

    It’s always been amusing to me that despite this, the Democrats always take offense when such questions get raised.

  4. Leisureguy says:

    Also it shows how much the Pentagon has bought into buying from big companies like KBR regardless of performance—probably the revolving door between the Pentagon (and members of Congress) and the defense industry has a lot to do with it. It seems as though the entire Dept of Defense should be melted down and reformed—probably with one branch of service, or at least folding the Air Force into the Army.

  5. Leisureguy says:

    It doesn’t seem to me to be a politically motivated prosecution of KBR. Check out this story. Plus there was the unseemly stuff about gang rapes and then not allowing the raped women to take the case to court. (Mandatory binding arbitration, arbitrators paid by KBR.) I believe that they finally did get their day in court after MUCH hassle.

  6. John Cole says:

    It seems as though the entire Dept of Defense should be melted down and reformed—probably with one branch of service, or at least folding the Air Force into the Army.

    That was David Hackworth’s dream.

  7. Leisureguy says:

    I totally enjoyed David Hackworth’s autobiography, About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior. Who knows, I may have picked up the idea from there. Wonderful book, highly recommended. Hackworth was a true warrior, no doubt about it—exactly the kind of man you want fighting wars on your side.

  8. steve says:

    I thought you had served in the military? How long ago do you think they took the bids on that contract? Do they move faster now? Maybe some right wing nuts really expected Obama to come in and stop all ongoing contract negotiations, but he would have been nuts to intrude at that level this soon.

    Steve

  9. Mars vs Hollywood says:

    Maybe some right wing nuts really expected Obama to come in and stop all ongoing contract negotiations

    Actually, you have that backwards. It was Obama’s supporters on the left who believed he would put an immediate stop to Halliburton/KBR/Blackwater. Nobody on the right believed for a second that he would.