Wednesday, July 12, 2006

You don't leave a bar when all the drinks are on the house, unless the damn place is on fire.

The outlines of the US administration's plan for exiting Iraq are starting to emerge. Today, we've learned that Army contracts with Halliburton will not be renewed. We can reasonably assume that Halliburton is not being cut out unwillingly, but has decided that they have maxed out their opportunities and will now get out while the getting's good. Halliburton has been benefactor to one of the largest blank checks the government has ever written, and ending these contracts is a major event. Things have got to be pretty bad over there to give up a deal like this. This war has been the largest experiment ever in privitization of military services and, even more than in Vietnam, the decision to exit will be determined not by the will of the American people but by the analysis of the private sector that their returns have passed the optimal level and will not improve.

The Washington Post story linked above notes that the contracts end in September. The mid-term elections are in November, with the possibility of a Democratic majority in either house of congress the only opportunity for proper legislative oversight. This is perfect timing for the Bush administration to announce a major troup withdrawal and reduce the potency of Iraq as a campaign issue in the fall.

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