July 15, 2004 – Trucks carrying no cargo whatsoever crisscrossed Iraq more than 100 times as their civilian drivers, and the soldiers who sometimes guarded them, dodged bullets, bricks and homemade bombs, reports Knight-Ridder.
Records from the Defense Department indicate that Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a Halliburton subsidiary, has been paid $327 million for "theater transportation" of supplies and war materials for US forces occupying Iraq. It is earmarked to be paid $230 million more.
KBRâ€™s contract with the Defense Department allows the company to pass on the cost of the transportation and add from one to three percent for profit. However, when asked for estimates for how much the empty truck runs cost, neither KBR nor the US Army was able to provide any figures. Trucking experts, however, estimate that each round trip costs taxpayers thousands of dollars.
About 12 truckers have accused KBR of billing the Pentagon for unnecessary work. KBR, however, described the empty truck practice as "normal" while Army officials offered the pretext that larger convoys may provide better security. During the peak months, as many as a third of all truck deliveries, amongst mostly 30-truck convoys, were reportedly empty.