- Well, the war has been a huge success, and I guess it's
time for congratulations all round. And wow! It's hard to know where to
- First, I'd like to congratulate Kellogg Brown & Root
(KBR) and the Bechtel Corporation, which are the construction companies
most likely to benefit from the reconstruction of Iraq. Contracts in the
region of $1 billion should soon coming your way, chaps. Well done! And
what with the US dropping 15,000 precision-guided munitions, 7,500 unguided
bombs and 750 cruise missiles on Iraq so far and with more to come, there's
going to be a lot of reconstruction. It looks like it could be a bonanza
- Of course, we all know that KBR is the construction side
of Halliburton, and it has been doing big business with the military ever
since the Second World War. Most recently, it got the plum job of constructing
the prison compound for terrorists suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Could be
a whole lot more deluxe chicken coops coming your way in the next few months,
guys. Stick it to 'em.
- I'd also like to add congratulations to Dick Cheney,
who was chief executive of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, and who currently
receives a cheque for $1 million a year from his old company. I guess he
may find there's a little surprise bonus in there this year. Well done,
- Congratulations, too, to former Secretary of State, George
Schultz. He's not only on the board of Bechtel, he's also chairman of the
advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a group with
close ties to the White House committed to reconstructing the Iraqi economy
through war. You're doing a grand job, George, and I'm sure material benefits
will be coming your way, as sure as the Devil lives in Texas.
- Oh, before I forget, a big round of appreciation for
Jack Sheehan, a retired general who sits on the Defence Policy Board which
advises the Pentagon. He's a senior vice president at Bechtel and one of
the many members of the Defence Policy Board with links to companies that
make money out of defence contracts. When I say 'make money' I'm not joking.
Their companies have benefited to the tune of $76bn just in the last year.
Talk about a gravy train. Well, Jack, you and your colleagues can certainly
look forward to a warm and joyous Christmas this year.
- It;s been estimated that rebuilding Iraq could cost anything
from $25bn to $100bn and the great thing is that the Iraqis will be paying
for it themselves out of their future oil revenues. What's more, President
Bush will be able to say, with a straight face, that they're using the
money from Iraqi oil to benefit the Iraqi people. 'We're going to use the
assets of the people of Iraq, especially their oil assets, to benefit their
people,' said Secretary of State Colin Powell, and he looked really sincere.
- It's so neat it makes you want to run out and buy shares
in Fluor. As one of the world's biggest procurement and construction companies,
it recently hired Kenneth J. Oscar, who, as acting assistant secretary
of the army, took care of the Pentagon's $35bn-a-year procurement budget.
So there could also be some nice extra business coming its way soon. Bully
- But every celebration has its serious side, and I should
like to convey my condolences to all those who have suffered so grievously
in this war. Particularly American Airlines, Qantas and Air Canada, and
all other travel companies which have seen their customers dwindle, as
fear of terrorist reprisals for what the US and Britain have done in Iraq
begins to bite.
- My condolences also to all those British companies which
have been disappointed in their bid to share in the bonanza that all this
wonderful high-tech military firepower has created. I know it must be frustrating
and disheartening for many of you, especially in the medical field, knowing
there are all those severed limbs, all that burnt flesh, all those smashed
skulls, broken bones, punctured spleens, ripped faces and mangled children
just crying out for your products.
- You could be making a fortune out of the drugs, serums
and surgical hardware, and yet you have to stand on the sidelines and watch
as US drug companies make a killing.
- Well, Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian President, has some
words of comfort for us all. As he recently pointed out, this adventure
by Bush and Blair will have created such hatred throughout the Arab world,
that 100 new bin Ladens will have been created.
- So all of us here in Britain, as well as in America,
shouldn't lose heart. Once the Arab world starts to take its revenge, there
should be enough reconstruction to do at home to keep business thriving
for some years to come.