Thursday, January 06, 2005


Except, when we steal, it's not really stealing

Blogging this only because it's true and needs to be spread. From Rising Hegemon:
Meanwhile in Reality

Thanks to Eric Alterman for alerting me to this, from the Nation.
Listening to the cable pundits, you would never suspect that there is no proof at this point that Annan, or indeed anyone else at the UN, did anything wrong. Charges of corruption against UN official Benon Sevan are suspect at best, given that they come via Ahmad Chalabi, who was also the source of the discredited information about Iraq's illusory weapons, as well as the assurances that Iraqis would greet US and British forces as liberators. Nor is there any evidence that Annan used his influence to give Cotecna, a company that employed his son, the job of monitoring contracts under the oil-for-food program, and no proof that Cotecna did anything illegal or corrupt. Although Annan's son certainly let his father down by not telling him of Cotecna's continuing "non-compete" payments to him, paternal resignations in response to the sins of prodigal sons have not been a great American tradition--certainly not under the Bush dynasty.

There are real questions about Saddam Hussein's oil sales, both inside and outside the oil-for-food program, but all the serious investigations, such as that by the US Government Accountability Office, make it clear that most of the revenue he raised had nothing to do with the UN, and that the UN did nothing without the explicit or implicit support of the United States acting through the Security Council.

The reality is that the current calls for Annan's head are provoked by his opposition to America's pre-emptive war in Iraq. On December 4 the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the hometown newspaper of Senator Norm Coleman, who has called for Annan's resignation, provided perhaps the most succinct explanation of what lies behind the attacks. Describing Coleman's call as a "sordid move," the editorial explained: "For months before the election, the right-wing constellation of blogs and talk radio was alive with incendiary rhetoric about Annan and the oil-for-food scandal.... This is really all about Annan's refusal to toe the Bush line on Iraq and the administration's generally unilateral approach to foreign affairs. The right-wingers hate Annan and saw in the food-for-oil program a possible chink in his armor. They went after it with a venomous fury."
The right-wing, led by Safire and a variety of other shills will do whatever they can to try to undermine the UN - a bogeyman of the right-wing since its founding. This manufactured scandal is nothing new, but part of a long sordid tradition.

Meanwhile, about those billions that have gone missing in Iraq from the reconstruction budget...
But...that was the whole point of the Iraqi invasion - one more barrelful of sweet, delicious, taxpayer-paid-for pork for the president's corporate crony paymasters to gorge themselves on.

Were there problems with the oil-for-food program? Probably. It has been pointed out that a lot of those problems stemmed from the fact that many countries on the Security Council intervened a lot to use the program to benefit their own companies, and that there was deliberately not a lot Kofi Annan could do to stop that.

But why let facts get in the way of a perfectly good opportunity to destroy the UN? It's the same thing that they pulled with the bait-and-switch on Iraq and are trying to do now with Social Security. Find a problem and use it as a pretext to do something unrelated or only tangentially related that you have really wanted to do for decades. And as long as the press pretends it's too stupid to connect the dots (don't have to worry about the public pretending that), you can keep getting away with it, too.
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