Monday, December 06, 2004

The United Nations is the gift that keeps on giving

Turn your head and Kofi:
The United Nations' "Oil-for-Food" program, which began in 1996, permitted Saddam Hussein to sell oil, provided that the revenue went for food, medicine and other necessities. It was a deal between the world's largest bureaucracy and one of the planet's most crooked and ruthless dictators. What could possibly go wrong?

So now we find out, with a shock value equal to the one that hit us this morning when the sun rose in the east, that Hussein was skimming money off the top, and bottom for that matter. Skimming? More like building a dam. The General Accounting Office estimates that Hussein's regime netted over $10 billion. The psychotic-yet-most-entrepreneurial mustachioed one who had a destiny with a spider hole was, with a lot of help, inflating prices on humanitarian imports, which allowed him to sell that much more oil and keep the extra for himself and whoever else was involved. High markups, high profits and skimming – Iraq had become a 172,000 square mile jewelry store run by Jimmy Hoffa.
Lots more by following the link including fun with the Minneapolis (Red) Star Tribune:
The Tribune assigns an air of untouchable altruism to the United Nations, which, to them, is a noble body working toward the betterment of mankind, so they've earned the right to the occasional colossal blunder or not-so-accidental dereliction. In other words, they're a lot like the newspaper business.
By the way, the author, Doug Powers, now has his own blog.