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Numbers Racket

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Published January 24, 2007 at 4:23 p.m.

Halliburton subsidiary KBR raked in record profits on its support services for U.S. troops in Iraq. Meanwhile, Iraq war veteran Drew Cameron said, he was sent into battle without body armor and had to buy his own soap.

Cameron, who's now a student at the University of Vermont, was one of three Iraq war veterans who spoke last Saturday at a rally in Montpelier to protest President Bush's proposed increase in U.S. troop levels. Carrying signs that read "Less oil, more courage," "Farmers for Peace" and "I'm already against the next war," about 300 antiwar protesters braved harsh winds and bitter temperatures for the rally at the Vermont Statehouse.

Among those in attendance was Jude Elford of the Hardwick Peace Coalition. Her protest sign outlined the various costs of the war - now estimated at $8.4 billion per month - and other ways in which that money could have been spent, including stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa, educating children and eradicating starvation worldwide.

In case anyone had doubts about the human costs of the war, demonstrators left pairs of black combat boots on the capitol steps as a reminder of all the Vermonters who have been killed so far.

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