Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) today reported third-quarter earnings that were boosted by its controversial no-bid contract in Iraq.

The world's second-largest oilfield services company (behind Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB)) earned $0.13 per share in the quarter, 40% lower than the same period last year. Income from continuing operations -- which excludes various charges -- came in at $0.32 per share, well ahead of last year's $0.22. Total revenue increased by 39% to $4.1 billion.

The work in Iraq contributed about $900 million to earnings, or $0.05 per share. The company -- once run by Vice President Dick Cheney -- absorbed criticism after being awarded multi-billion contracts to help rebuild oil fields devastated in the war.

Today, CEO Dave Lesar fired back in a conference call. "We believe the criticism that has come our way is inaccurate, unfounded, and misleading," he said. "Frankly, when I see the allegations repeated day after day in the press, I'm offended."

Calling the attacks politically motivated, Lesar reminded investors that Halliburton is "uniquely qualified to take on this difficult assignment, and we will continue to bring all of our global resources to bear at this critical time in the Middle East. We have served the military for over 50 years and have no intention of backing down at this point. In short, we're extremely proud of the work that we're doing there."

The apolitical market didn't have much of a reaction, bidding the company's shares down about 1% today.

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