Roger L. Simon

More Important than WMDs

… is the reputation of the United Nations. It is in tatters and the reactionaries (yes, I keep using that word because I want to rub their noses in reality) now in control of my Democratic Party are not facing it. That absolute phony liberal John Kerry keeps advocating cooperation with our “allies” without paying the slightest heed to who our allies really are. According to the latest CIA report:

The top U.S. arms inspector has accused the former head of the $60 billion U.N. oil-for-food program of accepting bribes in the form of vouchers for Iraqi oil sales from Saddam Hussein’s government.

The report by Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, alleges the Iraqi government manipulated the U.N. program from 1996 to 2003 in order to acquire billions of dollars in illicit gains and to import illegal goods, including acquiring parts for missile systems.

The alleged schemes included an Iraqi system for allocating lucrative oil vouchers, which permitted recipients to purchase certain amounts of oil at a profit.

Benon Sevan, the former chief of the U.N. program, is among dozens of people who allegedly received the vouchers, according to the report, which said Saddam personally approved the list.

The secret voucher program was dominated by Russian, French and Chinese recipients, in that order, with Saddam spreading the wealth widely to prominent business men, politicians, foreign government ministries and political parties, the report said.

The report names former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri, and the Russian radical political figure Vladimir Zhirinovsky as voucher recipients, for example, and other foreign governments range from Yemen to Namibia.

“Global Test” my fat tuchas. John Kerry does not deserve the vote of any citizen of the United States until he confronts this reality. Any liberals out there should be ashamed of themselves for supporting a man who wants to ratify this viciously corrupt and immoral system. That’s not liberalism – unless you consider the Mafia to be liberal.

UPDATE: A reader has sent along this excerpt from a Jeffrey Goldberg article in The New Yorker, May 2002:

Last week, in New York, I met with Benon Sevan, the United Nations
undersecretary-general who oversees the oil-for-food program. He quickly let me know that he was unmoved by the demands of the Kurds. “If they had a theme song, it would be ‘Give me, Give Me, Give Me,’ ” Sevan said. “I’m getting fed up with their complaints. You can tell them that.” He said that under the oil-for-food program the “three northern governorates”-U.N. officials avoid the word “Kurdistan”-have been allocated billions of dollars in goods and services. “I don’t know if they’ve ever had it so good,” he said.

I mentioned the Kurds’ complaint that they have been denied access to advanced medical equipment, and he said, “Nobody prevents them from asking. They should go ask the World Health Organization”-which reports to Sevan on matters related to Iraq. When I told Sevan that the Kurds have repeatedly asked the W.H.O., he said, “I’m not going to pass judgment on the W.H.O.” As the interview ended, I asked Sevan about the morality of allowing the Iraqi regime to control the flow of food and medicine into Kurdistan. “Nobody’s innocent,” he said. “Please don’t talk about morals with me.”

It’s those pesky morals again.