The story that has been bouncing around the blogosphere for months now has finally caught the attention of Big Media.
ABC News reported Wednesday that Iraqi Oil Ministry documents showed that Benon Sevan, who was in charge of the oil-for-food program, directed which company should handle alleged bribes in the form of vouchers he received to buy oil, and also implicated two other U.N. officials. In January, the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada listed 270 former Iraqi Cabinet officials and legislators, diplomats, officials in companies and journalists from more than 46 countries suspected of illegally profiting from the program.A quick google will bring you up to date as to what's going on, so I won't waste space here with a recap. But I will point you to a rather new blog that is closely following events as they develop.
'War without the UN is unthinkable," huffed The Guardian's Polly Toynbee a year ago, just before it happened. For a certain type of person, any action on the international scene without the UN is unthinkable. And, conversely, anything that happens under the UN imprimatur is mostly for the unthinking.I was arguing with a few friends during the run-up to the American invasion of Iraq, and the issue was raised that the UN was a necessary body for world peace. Today, with all this new information at my fingertips, I say 'hooey.' [I'd say something stronger, that would more accurately represent my feelings on the subject, but I try to avoid that kind of language. -- Ed.]
No matter how corrupt and depraved it is in practice, the organisation's sunny utopian image endures. Say the initials "UN" to your average member of Ms Toynbee's legions of the unthinking and they conjure up not UN participation in the sex-slave trade in Bosnia, nor the UN refugee extortion racket in Kenya, nor the UN cover-up of the sex-for-food scandal in West Africa, nor UN complicity in massacres, but some misty Unesco cultural event compered by the late Sir Peter Ustinov featuring photogenic children.
Any moral standing the U.N. possessed ended soon after U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Iraq. On January 25, 2003, 29-year-old Adnan Abdul Karim Enad jumped into a U.N. inspector's jeep, screaming "Save me! Save me!" As television cameras rolled, U.N. security guards dragged him from the vehicle and handed him to Iraqi soldiers.There's a lot more, and you owe it to yourself to read.
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