Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Welcome to two years ago, dummies!

Hiya everyone. Sorry to be scarce, but when you're an internationally beloved pop culture icon, sometimes you've got to make some "me time". Thanks for understanding.

OK, during the run-up to the war, people fell into two camps: Those who knew that the UN's Oil-For-Food program was being pimped by Saddam, with proceeds being kicked-back to our supposed "friends and allies" to bribe them into hating us, and those who refused to believe these facts and snarled the usual "DittoheadFoxagandaRoveBushLimbaughHannityWingnutNaziBlahWoofYaddaWhatever" bile in response.

Well, don't take my word for it, check out what the Democratic Leadership Council - last I looked, not a Karl Rove-controlled outfit - has to say in The Price of Credibility in which they say....

Unfortunately, the United Nations' credibility has been steadily eroded by its own misdeeds, with a burgeoning scandal over its incompetent and sometimes corrupt management of the Iraq oil-for-food program being the most damaging example. Last week it was reported that the son of U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan received a series of payments from a Swiss firm that won a lucrative contract under the oil-for-food program. This development has fed growing doubts that the United Nations will be able to own up to its problems or reform its operations so long as Annan remains at the helm.

The appearance of a payoff to the secretary general's son was just the latest in a series of revelations about the oil-for-food program. Begun in 1996, the program allowed Baghdad to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy food and other humanitarian goods in order to soften the impact on the Iraqi people of the sanctions imposed on the country after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. A U.N. committee supervised the program; vetted contracts for food purchases; arranged payments; and hired inspectors to ensure Iraq did not import material that could be used for arms.

But mismanagement, corruption, and manipulation of the program by Saddam Hussein allowed his regime to amass at least $21 billion outside of the United Nations' control, with the great bulk of that sum -- $17.3 billion -- pilfered between 1997 and 2003 on the secretary general's watch. In effect, the United Nations colluded in Saddam's successful evasion of U.N. sanctions. The most damning charge so far -- that a former chief of the oil-for-food program, Benon Sevan, accepted bribes from Saddam's regime -- was made in October by former U.N. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer, who led a Senate investigation into the scandal. The program is now the subject of at least four congressional investigations, three U.S. federal investigations and the U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has underscored the urgency of such investigations, noting not only that the size of the fraud is "staggering," but also that some of Saddam's vast illicit stash might right now be funding terrorists and costing American lives. In an opinion piece in last week's Wall Street Journal, Coleman urged Annan to resign. "As long as Mr. Annan remains in charge, the world will never be able to learn the full extent of the bribes, kickbacks and under-the-table payments that occurred under the U.N.'s collective nose."

Annan's handling of the fallout over the past week has done nothing to improve his perceived credibility: He has refused requests from congressional committees for access to the United Nation's 55 internal audits and other reports, or for the chance to interview U.N. officials who oversaw the program, saying that it would interfere with the Volcker inquiry. That inquiry is expected to release an interim report in January. The full report could take another year and cost as much as $30 million -- to be funded with leftover cash in the oil-forfood program.

Annan's intransigence should not deter the Senate subcommittee on investigations or other congressional investigations. Volcker can hardly be expected to conduct a thorough and unbiased inquiry into a scandal in which the U.N. secretary general and his son are involved. The world deserves a full and thorough accounting of what transpired. The sooner the United Nations can get past this matter, the sooner it can get back to the important business of making itself an effective instrument for collective security against terrorism, failed states, and acts of genocide, a goal that Annan has strongly supported. The secretary general should place this critical mission ahead of his personal interests, and step aside. Given his own lack of credibility on the oil-for-food program, this step is the price Annan must pay to help restore the U.N.'s credibility, and to salvage his legacy as secretary general.

Salvage his legacy?!? F*CK HIS LEGACY AND F*CK HIM TOO!!!! Jeez Louise, thousands of Iraqis died at the hands of Sean Penn's buddy and the grifters of the UN and we've been fed 24/7 propaganda that we're the bad guys and the DLC is concerned for Anan's legacy?!?

Well, that's another lie of the Left up in flames, though I see Rev. Jesse is trying to overturn Ohio.

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