Roger L. Simon

Kofi's Many Friends

I was naive about the extent to which most Western European countries will countenance corruption, but no more, especially after this report:

European and other nations are supporting UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan despite a US senator’s demand he quit over the deepening Iraq oil-for food corruption scandal.

US President George W Bush, though, is refusing show his hand.

The American leader – who has clashed with Annan repeatedly over the conflict in Iraq – has declined to say whether Annan should stay or go.

In contrast, Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany, China and dozens of other countries openly backed the beleaguered UN chief.

“Mr Annan is doing an excellent job as secretary-general,” said British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, perhaps America’s closest ally.

In contrast, Bush demanded “a full and fair and open accounting” of the oil-for-food program, saying this was essential for US taxpayers to continue supporting the UN and “for the integrity of the organisation”.

Are we the only grown-ups in the world? The behavior of the Brits in this regard is particularly bizarre. How does Jack Straw make such an extraordinary statement about Annan with a straight face? How much money does he think should be stolen through Oil-for-Food before the Secretary General is held accountable? So far it’s 23 billion. As far as I know that’s an historical record for corruption. Not enough, Jack?

Many in the MSM and elsewhere complain loudly about the US alienating Europe. But what about those of us Americans who used to have respect and admiration for Europe as a just and democratic society and feel dismayed by their immoral acceptance of corruption? Do we have a vote in this? (I know, Europe wasn’t so just for a good part of the last century… but at least some of it was.)