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    Overheard on the Web, and other Web links
    From The Herald's Research Editor


    Monday, November 01, 2004

    The cost of Iraq 

    The Raleigh News & Observer looked at several contracts between the U.S. military and a North Carolina company and did this fascinating report on how independent contractors are adding to the cost of the war in Iraq. Here's how one contractor's $600/day was paid:
      Blackwater added a 36 percent markup, plus its overhead costs, and sent the bill to a Kuwaiti company that ordinarily runs hotels. That company, Regency Hotel, tacked on its costs for buying vehicles and weapons and a profit and sent an invoice to a German food services company called ESS that cooked meals for the troops.
      ESS added its costs and profit and sent its bill to Halliburton, which also added overhead and a profit and presented the final bill to the Pentagon.
      It's nearly impossible to say whether the cost for Zovko doubled, tripled or quadrupled. Congressional investigators and defense auditors have had to fight the primary contractor, Halliburton, for details of the spending. The companies say the subcontracts are confidential and won't discuss them.

    There's a lot more to this N&O report; they've been following the contractor story for several months. Links to all the stories here.
    (Via The Scoop.)

    Yet, 60 Minutes had a report last night on soldiers dying from lack of armoring and equipment. Something's off kilter. (The report was followed by a news blurb that said Americans spent $3 Billion! on Halloween this year. Is that what those tax cuts went for? Halloween junk?)

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    Elisabeth Donovan


    Elisabeth (Liz) Donovan was a Herald librarian for 10 years, and Research Editor for 13 years. She came to The Herald in 1981, following several years at the Washington Post. She started blogging in 2000, with a news research blog, followed by the blog at Herald.com in 2003. A frequent speaker and writer on news research, she was honored in 2004 by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for her contributions to the field.


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