Roger L. Simon

The Gray Lady Meets the UN Scandal

The NYT has a superficially stern but also superficially naive editorial on the Volcker Committee interim report this morning. They assert that the panel “largely exonerated Mr. Annan of personal corruption in the awarding of a contract to a company that employed his son.” But that’s not quite true. They must realize the committee found no evidence of such corruption so far. Quite a different thing. And the Times’ writers (you can be sure this was a thoroughly vetted editorial) were also aware (it is briefly alluded to near the bottom of the editorial) that three years’ worth of Oil-for-Food documents were shredded by Annan’s deputy. You don’t have to be Woodward and Bernstein to smell a rat here.

That they do not call for Kofi’s resignation is also interesting. The Times itself moved quickly to change executive editors when it was found that a reporter, Jayson Blair, had fabricated stories. Yet Oil-for-Food, even at the level that it is currently understood, is far worse than a few made up tales. It concerns mass thievery, the starvation of children and the very nature of Security Council decision-making leading up to war. If this isn’t a firing-offense, what is?