I find myself in the awkward position of having to defend Bush’s statement on the Haliburton gas gouge scandal. But I’m man enough to do it. If you missed it, Haliburton was found to be changing our/their government over $2 per gallon for gasoline costing it less than a dollar. Bush said simply that if the allegations are true, then Haliburton should repay. Further, he’s taking credit for finding the problem rather than accepting guilt for having allowed it to occur in the first place.

I’m not inclined to attribute this to the corruption created by no-bid contracts or some attempt by Cheney to squirrel extra cash out of the government. It’s tempting to do that, and many in the press are. However, we have to remember that this same government (and not just the neo-con incarnation of it) is famous for paying $400 for a hammer. Most any company tries the same gouging tactics. This is caveat emptor at its capitalistic best. Mind you, I’m not defending the greed or the underhanded billing practices. I’m just saying that Haliburton is no more guilty than the countless other government contractors who have practiced the same tactics since the dawn of time.

Bush (or the government in general) should be taking credit for finding this. But at this point we can’t hang Haliburton out to dry for it unless we are prepared to hunt out and punish all the other violators.

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