Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

New Yorker on Halliburton

The New Yorker has a great article on Halliburton in its latest issue. It includes this priceless quote (at the very end of the paragraph), about private companies (like Halliburton) that have won big contracts to rebuild postwar Iraq:

It is not surprising that Cheney, after five years of running Halliburton, a company that considers war as providing growth opportunities,” regards winning the peace in Iraq as a challenge for private enterprise as well as for government. Yet it is reasonable to ask if Cheney’s faith in companies like Halliburton contributed to his conviction that the occupation of Iraq would be a tidy, easily managed affair…. Many of those involved, however, see themselves as part of a democratic vanguard. Jack Kemp’s spokesman, P. J. Johnson, told me, “We’re doing good by doing well.”

I normally hear the term invoked for things like water-purification technology businesses, so it was a bit of a jolt to read it in this context. But it does demonstrate the rhetorical brilliance of today’s conservatives.

On a related note, Naomi Klein has a piece in the Guardian on the Research Triangle Institute, a North Carolina-based think-tank, and its work in postwar Iraq. The opening paragraph:

On March 4 last year, with the military campaign just 15 days away, the United States agency for international development asked three American firms to bid for a unique job; after Iraq had been invaded and occupied, one company would be charged with setting up 180 local and provincial town councils in the rubble.


  1. It’s probably a fairly common witticism, but “Doing good by doing well” is also a line from Tom Lehrer’s song “The Old Dope Peddler.

  2. Hey, learn something new every day!

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