Roger L. Simon

The Subject About Which Kerry Dare Not Ever Speak

No, it’s not gay marriage or tax hikes, it is the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program because it is that scandal at the heart of our most prominent international institution, more than anything I can think of, that makes Kerry’s continuing mantra of “consulting with our allies” into a complete and utter farce. Even what we know of Oil-for-Food right now… and there’s undoubtedly a lot more to come… shows us that these same allies – notably the French, Russians and to a lesser extent the Germans – were, throughout the run-up to the War in Iraq, nothing but profiteers off Saddam. They were and to a great extent still are, as Orwell put it in an only slightly different context,”objectively pro-fascist.”

So when I read Kerry’s latest apologia pro vita pin-striped suit in which the Senator tries to set the record straight on what he means or meant by a “Global Test,” all I could think of was has this man who claims to be a liberal, to be an enemy of fascism, ever read anything about Oil-for-Food, ever investigated it? What does he know about it? Back on March 12, the Washington Times, a paper he no doubt despises, began a two-part series on Oil-for-Food this way, trying to call the Senator’s attention to the subject:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry complains that President Bush pursued a unilateralist foreign policy that gave short shrift to the concerns of the United Nations and our allies when it came to taking military action against Saddam Hussein. But the mounting evidence of scandal that has been uncovered in the U.N. Oil For Food program suggests that there was never a serious possibility of getting Security Council support for military action because influential people in Russia and France were getting paid off by Saddam. After the fall of Baghdad last spring, France and Russia tried to delay the lifting of sanctions against Iraq and continue the Oil for Food program. That’s because France and Russia profited from it: The Times of London calculated that French and Russian companies received $11 billion worth of business from Oil for Food between 1996 and 2003.

More recent analyses have even connected the Oil-for-Food money to Al Qaeda via a Kuwaiti company, which means the UN itself may actually have been financing terrorism. What do you have to say to that, Senator Kerry? Which side are you on – the liberal or the totalitarian?

The tragic part of all this is such a small percentage of the American public knows about Oil-for-Food, although it may have more to tell us about the international balance of power than any other current scandal. Many liberal friends of mine are completely ignorant of these events because they have been relegated, for the most part, to the back pages of The New York Times, therefore invisible. And Paul Volcker’s internal UN investigation has had the paradoxical result of pushing the scandal even further from view, its conclusions hidden from the public until long after the coming election. Even Kerry would have been forced to comment about that. And don’t look for the press to ask him about it? Those few who might be interested won’t have the chance.

MEANWHILE: Anne Bayevsky asks us to “Meet the Graders.”