Well, it’s bound to happen when the wheels of the spin machine fall off.
Speaking of the Duelfer Report, Cheney says:
"As soon as the sanctions were lifted, he [Saddam] had every intention of going back. . . . [T]he sanctions regime was coming apart at the seams. Saddam perverted that whole thing and generated billions of dollars."
(Emphasis mine) Saddam sure did pervert the whole thing. But from whom did he generate "billions of dollars"? Well, France, Russia, etc. to be sure, but it is a little more complicated than that. It was French companies as well. Well, sort of. Enter my time machine to a November 2000 article:
Millions of dollars of US oil business with Iraq are being channelled discreetly through European and other companies, in a practice that has highlighted the double standards now dominating relations between Baghdad and Washington after a decade of crippling sanctions.
Though legal, leading US oil service companies such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Flowserve, Fisher-Rosemount and others, have used subsidiaries and joint venture companies for this lucrative business, so as to avoid straining relations with Washington and jeopardising their ties with President Saddam Hussein’s government in Baghdad.
Halliburton, the largest US oil services company, is among a significant number of US companies that have sold oil industry equipment to Iraq since the UN relaxed sanctions two years ago.
From 1995 until August this year Halliburton’s chief executive officer was Dick Cheney, US secretary of defense during the Gulf war and now Republican vice-presidential running mate of George W.Bush.
From September 1998 until it sold its stake last February, Halliburton owned 51 per cent of Dresser-Rand. It also owned 49 per cent of Ingersoll-Dresser Pump, until its sale in December 1999. During the time of the joint ventures, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump submitted more than $23.8m worth of contracts for the sale of oil industry parts and equipment to Iraq. Their combined total amounted to more than any other US company; the vast majority was approved by the sanctions committee.
Why Dick?!? Did you know what your company was doing? I’m sure if you knew that Halliburton’s efforts were perverting the sanction scheme (even if it was done legally — technically), you would have put an end to it, right? Right? Uh, Dick?
Cheney argued then that sanctions did not work and punished American companies. The former defense secretary complained in a 1998 speech that U.S. companies were "cut out of the action" in Iran because of the sanctions.
And like Iran, so Iraq.
So to recap: As Halliburton chairman, Cheney complained that sanctions (with Iran, but the principle is the same) hurt American companies, so he was more than happy to do legal end-runs around them with Iraq, until he became VP. Then, when all the reasons for invading Iraq blew away like leaves in the wind, Cheney now argues that Saddam was a bad guy because he perverted the sanctions — sanctions of the sort that Cheney himself once complained about. And then Halliburton assisted Saddam in perverting them.
Wow, is Cheney stupid.