Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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War: What is it Good For?
by Lee

Well, well, well.  You remember all the wailing we heard from the left about how sanctions against the United Nations had killed 500,000 Iraqi children by starvation, denial of medicine, and denial of clean water?  Well it seems that—are you sitting down?—that Saddam Himself was taking the oil-for-food money for himself!  Yes, I know you’re as stunned as I am, but it really looks like Saddam had set up quite a detailed system to pilfer all the proceeds for his own uses, none of which benefitted the people of Iraq.  The New York Times provides a detailed article.  Here is just a taste, be sure and read the whole thing.

n its final years in power, Saddam Hussein’s government systematically extracted billions of dollars in kickbacks from companies doing business with Iraq, funneling most of the illicit funds through a network of foreign bank accounts in violation of United Nations sanctions.

Millions of Iraqis were struggling to survive on rations of food and medicine. Yet the government’s hidden slush funds were being fed by suppliers and oil traders from around the world who sometimes lugged suitcases full of cash to ministry offices, said Iraqi officials who supervised the skimming operation.

The officials’ accounts were enhanced by a trove of internal Iraqi government documents and financial records provided to The New York Times by members of the Iraqi Governing Council. Among the papers was secret correspondence from Mr. Hussein’s top lieutenants setting up a formal mechanism to siphon cash from Iraq’s business deals, an arrangement that went unnoticed by United Nations monitors.

Under a United Nations program begun in 1997, Iraq was permitted to sell its oil only to buy food and other relief goods. The kickback order went out from Mr. Hussein’s inner circle three years later, when limits on the amount of oil sales were lifted and Iraq’s oil revenues reached $10 billion a year.

In an Aug. 3, 2000, letter marked “urgent and confidential,” the Iraqi vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, informed government ministers that a high-command committee wanted “extra revenues” from the oil-for-food program. To that end, he wrote, all suppliers must be told to inflate their contracts “by the biggest percentage possible” and secretly transfer those amounts to Iraq’s bank accounts in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

“Please acknowledge and certify that this is executed in an accurate and clear way, and under supervision of the specified minister,” Mr. Ramadan wrote.

So, what have we learned from this?  That the United Nations is an utterly inpet, morally bankrupt organization that did nothing more than ensure the prolonged survival of the Hussein regime, and that the people of Iraq were suffering as a result.  Now the people of Iraq are free, and have a better chance to create some kind of nominal democracy free from the totalitarian thugs who permeate the region.  And you can thank the people who got the job done, the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and all the other nations who had the right stuff when it was needed.  You can also point fingers at the United Nations, whose answer to a dictatorial thug starving his own people was to work ever so hard to keep him and his oppressive regime in power. 

What does war solve?  Ask the Iraqis.

Posted by Lee on 02/29/04 at 03:39 AM (Discuss this in the forums)


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