April 28, 2004
Why did France and Russia oppose efforts to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime? And why did they press constantly, throughout the ’90s, for an expansion of Iraqi oil sales? Was it their empathy for the starving children of that impoverished nation? Their desire to stop the United States from arrogantly imposing its vision upon the Middle East?
It now looks like they it was simply because they were on the take. Saddam was their cash cow. If President Bush has suffered some discredit over his apparently false – but not disingenuous – claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the lapse is minor compared to the outright personal selfishness and criminality that appears to have motivated many of those who opposed his efforts to rid the world of one of its worst dictators. . . .
The defect of international coalitions is that they include the just and the unjust, the bribed and the honest, the democratic and the autocratic. And their members cannot be trusted equally. The group that stood up and backed the invasion of Iraq was nicknamed “the Coalition of the Willing.” Now it appears it was also “the Coalition of the Honest.”
The press’s relative lack of interest in this colossal scandal — which dwarfs anything involving Enron or Martha Stewart — is hard to explain. As reader Brian Naughton writes:
With the UNscam story unravelling almost daily, no one seems to be talking about the CEO of UN Inc. I’m referring, of course to Kofi Annan. If this guy isn’t complicit in these crimes he would have to be the most astoundingly incompetent CEO in recent history, perhaps ever!
Yes. It’s interesting that he’s not getting the kind of treatment that corporate CEO’s get, notwithstanding that this is likely the biggest financial-fraud scandal in history.
UPDATE: Mystery writer Roger Simon is looking for this scandal’s Mr. Big.