Halliburton, the colossal oil field services company that was formerly run by former Vice President and fugitive war criminal Dick Cheney, was one of the biggest profiteers off of the atrocious bloodshed during the War in Iraq. Cheney arranged for his former company and its subsidiaries to get massive government contracts, and used American servicemen to guard the sites. The toxic nature of oil work has resulted in the poisoning of untold numbers of our soldiers and Iraqis alike without their knowledge, even though the company was certainly aware of it.
In 2012, a federal court in Portland, OR, awarded $85 million in damages to twelve Oregon National Guardsmen who had been exposed and fallen ill from the cancer-causing toxin sodium dichromate at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant, Iraq, a site operated by the Halliburton subsidiary KBR. The 9th Circuit Court threw out the judgement on appeal, ruling that they had to sue the company in their own state of Texas.
The case against KBR is being filed again in Houston, but KBR has retaliated by suing the veterans for $850,000 in legal fees from the first case, in a retaliatory and deeply immoral attempt to punish the veterans and silence their efforts to bring the company to justice.
By burying these veterans in litigation and possibly crushing debt if the court sides with KBR again, they will have poisoned US veterans, on the US government’s dime, and have gotten away with it. It is absolutely reprehensible. The ghosts of Iraq still haunt our soldiers and our conscience, eight years later. Corporate privilege in our nation extends much far too far if shocking travesties like this are allowed to occur in our nation. Cheney, Halliburton, and KBR have done enough damage and stolen enough money to our nation as it is. We can’t let them do this to our vets again.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.