Epic Nation

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Kofi Annan: bribery at U.N. "inconceivable"

Because most media outlets are focused on the presidential race here at home, little attention is being paid to the growing Oil for Food scandal that continues to dog the United Nations. Specifically, U.N. diplomats from France, China, and Russia are facing some well deserved scrutiny over their financial relationships to Saddam's regime.

In the midst of this very important investigation, Secretary General Annan decided he would interject and offer his own personal opinions on the matter. Annan commented on the specific charge that France and Russia had been lobbying for an easing of sanctions on Iraq in return for lucrative oil contracts in the future.

It is a fact that these two countries used their position at the Security Council to have sanctions lifted. Arguing from the standpoint that the sanctions were only harming Iraqi citizens, France and Russia have both insisted that sanctions needed to be restructured. Having said that, there has yet to be any conclusive evidence that would suggest that a deal was made with Iraq in exchange for a pay-off down the road. This is why the investigation must be allowed to run its course before conclusion from either side are made.

But Annan has decided he knows best and has brushed off the central issues to this scandal as though they were known falsehoods. With the investigation still in progress the principle agent of the United Nations has made an unabashed attempt to undercut the investigators' authority by implying that they are involved in some sort of wild goose chase.

Annan, in an interview on British television, said such claims of bribery were "inconceivable", and went on to assert that:

"These are very serious and important governments. You are not dealing with banana republics... I don't think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow itself to be bought because some of their companies are getting contracts from the Iraqi authorities... I don't believe it at all."

Mr. Annan is either naïve to the underhanded nature of global politics, or he is an accomplice to the crime and is now trying to raise doubts to the central charges. An 8 year old is incapable of such naivety, so the latter scenario is more likely the case. The Secretary General is abusing his position to cast doubt on any conclusions the investigation could report before they are even made.

And to think this is the very same organization that John Kerry treats as the United States' ultimate moral authority.


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