Olbermann: ‘Dick Cheney Electrocution Showers’ Killing U.S. Troops in Iraq

On Thursday’s Countdown show, while recounting the story of shoddy electrical work done by Halliburton subsidiary KBR which has resulted in several American troops being electrocuted while taking showers in Iraq, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann referred to the dangerous showers as "Dick Cheney electrocution showers," and stated as fact his absurd opinion that the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq partly to provide "no bid sweetheart contracts" to Halliburton.

As he ended his rant during the show’s regular "Bushed!" segment, Olbermann repeatedly referred to KBR as "Dick Cheney’s old pals" as he complained that the Defense Contract Management Agency plans to get KBR to repair the electrical problems. Olbermann:

Dick Cheney`s old pals get billions of taxpayer dollars from a war Dick Cheney helped foment. Then Dick Cheney`s old pals do a criminally negligent job and they kill some of the soldiers who are not killed in Dick Cheney`s phony war. Now, to prevent Dick Cheney`s old pals from killing even more Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has assigned the urgent, essential, life or death repair work to Dick Cheney`s old pals.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, March 26, Countdown show on MSNBC:

KEITH OLBERMANN, IN OPENING TEASER: "Bushed": Dick Cheney`s old friends at KBR who have electrocuted at least three – maybe a dozen – American servicemen in criminally negligent barracks showers. The problem gigantically larger than first feared: 7,000 KBR showers in Iraq have electrical dangers.

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OLBERMANN, DURING COMMERCIAL BREAK AT 8:16 P.M.: "Bushed": Getting electrocuted in showers in Iraq built by Dick Cheney`s old company. The threat is far worse than we knew.

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OLBERMANN, AT 8:30 P.M.: "I don`t have a mark on my conscience," that is what former Attorney General John Ashcroft has told an audience in Texas. Well, if you don`t have a conscience, you can`t have a mark on one. Speaking of, Bill-O invents another tier to the vast left-wing conspiracy against him. Mark my words, before this is over, he`ll be claiming I get daily phone calls from Stalin and Trotsky.

But first, because they may be gone, but their deeds outlive them, the headlines lingering from the previous administration`s 50 running scandals, "Still Bushed!" Number three, "legacy-gate" with wrestling. One of the current top villains in the kaleidoscopic world of pro wrestling is Randy Orton. Monday at the WWE Raw event in Kansas City, Orton handcuffed another wrestler, then picked up the other wrestler`s wife, then dropped her on her head, then kissed her. Orton got wildly booed. Then the promoters played a video tribute to the troops, including a message from Mr. Bush. According to reporters, Mr. Bush got more thunderously booed even than Randy Orton.

Number two, "support-the-troops-gate." Despite two years of public knowledge of the deplorable conditions for wounded vets, it gets worse. A memo summarizing a meeting between soldiers and the secretary of the Army includes the conclusion by these troopers that the recovery unit at Fort Bragg in North Carolina is so bad that they would rather be reassigned to active combat duty than to be treated there. Commanders blame the injured troops, they say, for things they can`t do because of their injuries. And soldiers in the recovery unit say the brass particularly likes to make fun of those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

And number one, "electrocution-gate." You are already aware of the no-bid sweetheart contracts the Bush administration gave to Dick Cheney`s old company Halliburton and its spinoff KBR. That constituted one of the reasons we went into Iraq. You may also recall that anywhere from three to a dozen of our troops in Iraq have been electrocuted when showers with wiring improperly installed by KBR shorted out. It was a nightmare, and it was tragic, and it was one of the results of war profiteering, in which corporations cut corners to make even more money.

But the problem seemed relatively minor. It is anything but. The Pentagon document now indicates that these Dick Cheney electrocution showers were installed virtually everywhere – 94 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or other Cent-Com facilities with KBR showers sought medical treatment for electric shock. KBR`s own database lists a total of 231 electrical shock incidents in Iraq alone.

The memo also indicates the military has begun to inspect all its bathrooms in Iraq, about 20,000 have been examined so far, and nearly 7,000 of them have already been found to have major electrical problems in the showers. And there are at least 65,000 showers still to be inspected.

And, incredibly, the Defense Contract Management Agency has decided that to fix the 7,000 showers with the electrocution risks, and what could easily be 20,000 more, it will turn to KBR. Dick Cheney`s old pals get billions of taxpayer dollars from a war Dick Cheney helped foment. Then Dick Cheney`s old pals do a criminally negligent job and they kill some of the soldiers who are not killed in Dick Cheney`s phony war. Now, to prevent Dick Cheney`s old pals from killing even more Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has assigned the urgent, essential, life or death repair work to Dick Cheney`s old pals.