Friday, December 10, 2004

Once Again, With Feeling... Oil For Food Not The Sec Gen's Responsibility

Here are the simple facts, which anyone can confirm with a minimal degree of due diligence. The Sec Gen does not control the Security Council. The Security Council created and administered the program through the 661 Committee. The 661 Committee, created by the SC with representatives from each of the veto holding SC countries, approved the daily activities of the Oil for Food program and approved every cent spent in the program. Any discrepancies or fraud is their fault. In fact it is partially our fault, since we sit on the 661 Commiittee.

All the Sec Gen could do is advise and refer matters to the 661 Committee. The Secretariat (which Annan DOES control) several times DID bring corruption issues and discrepencies to the attention of the Security Council and the 661 Committee, both bodies in which we have a veto, and we did nothing.

The vast majority of the money which passed illegally to Iraq (20 to 40 billion) was gotten by smuggling oil to Turkey and Jordan, of which we tacitly approved, and which had nothing to do with Oil for Food. Nothing. We knew it was happening, we deemed it our strategic interest to allow it to happen. We maintain a fleet in the Gulf and are the strongest naval power in the region. Tankers smuggling oil to Turkey sailed right under our noses, and we did nothing. How is Kofi Annan or the UN responsible for that?

Trying to implicate Annan for the Oil for Food program's failures is like trying to hold Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert accountable for the pro-torture memos written in the White House Council's Office. They simply haven't got anything to do with one another. This is a shameless smear campaign by Rove and the GOP, and nothing more.

As to Annan's son, his working at a UN contractor and getting deferred compensation is certainly no worse than the VP getting the same from Halliburton, which just passed 10 billion dollars in contracts in Iraq from the government while the VP is on their payroll. Impeach Cheney, then talk to me about Annan, hypocrites.

This whole thing is almost as bad as the Swift Boat Idiots for Slander campaign against Kerry. Only this time, it is leveled against not a war hero charging that his service was a cynical fraud, but against a noble public servant, doing his best to steer the UN in some of the most troubled times that organization has faced, charging that he has used his position for crass personal gain and to give succor to tyrants. There is a venom-dripping evil and cynical stink about both compaigns that simply reeks of Karl Rove and what he and this Administration have made the GOP into.


At 10:12 PM, Blogger Bridget said...

I'm not a partisan Republican. I hold no particular love for either party. Im not defending the person but the principle. So again I have to ask: Why didn't Annan take enough steps (do his job well enough) to ensure the money went to the right place? It would seem, even if he werent directly involved, that he is as culpable as the rest of them.

There must have been a way to ensure proper program execution before now. Its all very stinky to the core. I hardly think that, especially considering the massive degree of corruption and the many years of cover-up, holding the Sec Gen of the institution responsible for the failure of the program accountable to it is an unreasonable thing to demand.

If the UN were some sort of corporation wouldnt you hold the CEO accountable? Who is responsible for checking that everything is running smoothly and as planned if not the CEO? When a corporation is this corrupt and villainous who holds it accountable for its actions? The Government and the shareholders.

What international forum is there to investigate the UN and enforce accountability? There is none. Either the UN must do it itself (which clearly it hasn't under the guidance of Annan) or the member state must take the lead. That's why the US is justified in investigating, and why Coleman is justified in calling for the Annan resignation.

It's nothing more than a major shareholder calling for the resignation of a CEO. Then the board and shareholders have to investigate and take action, or the CEO must concede (sometimes even if innocent) for the good of the corporation

Since there is no avenue for goverment oversight of the UN as there is with a corporation, then it's up to the member states to investigate and fix the problem.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Michael said...

UN is NOT a coporation. Sec Gen is NOT a CEO. I don't know how much clearer I can make it that Annan is NOT in control of the whole UN. The UN is controlled by member states, especially those with permanent veto-holding seats on the SC who contribute the most to operational budgets. Annan is the head of the Secretariat, which supports and serves the UN organs such as the GA, SC, UNESCO, WHO, and others. He is NOT the President of the UN. He is the chief secretary.

If you require an analogy in US political terms, too bad, you won't find one which conveys with any accuracy the role of the Sec Gen. Perhaps the Chairman of the Federal Reserve might be somewhat useful to illustrate Annan's position. The Chairman is appointed by the President, but is in many ways beyond political control. Likewise the SG is appointed by GA on recommendation of the SC, but remains somewhat independent of political control. The Fed Chairman is very influential, not because he wields great power, but because he has considerable influence within an important organization. In other ways the SG is like the Speaker of House. He is able to speak with authority on behalf of the GA, giving his voice great weight. In other ways he's like the White House Chief of Staff, he has considerable influence over operations and the key personnel inside the Secretariat as the Chief of Staff has in Executive Branch of government.

Now with all this in mind, imagine that the Supreme Court fashions a remedy that requires ongoing oversight by the Federal District courts under special masters (like school desegration) and there turns out to be graft involved in the equitable solution the court fashions. Some people call for the resignation of Greenspan, Card, and Hastert as a result of the scandal. What would you think? I would think that these people haven't a clue how the government works or who is responsible for the problem. I would think that those who were encouraging people to make such ignorant demands had a political agenda with no legimacy. I would think that those who repeat those mindless demands are gullible, ignorant, or willfully blind to the agenda of their leaders. You've been misled. Move on.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger Tiny Montgomery said...

What? No impeachable nuance about an illicit blowjob? That's enough. Nothing to see here. Let's move along.

This has nothing to do with Kofi Annan and everyone on both sides of the aisle knows it. More Republican framing of "the UN sucks, therefore it should be eliminated."


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