Thursday, April 24, 2008
Oil for Food Scammers...by Rob Richards
Have you ever been to the doctor for one thing, but fortunately found out about something more serious that may have gone unnoticed that now could be treated? Have you ever taken your car into the shop for maintenance and gladly found out that you avoided a more costly scenario by catching the problem in time?
I am sick of listening to the anti-war lefties with 20/20 hindsight that ramble on about the WMD’s. Their argument would hold some merit if it could only stop at “Did they exist?” and “Where are they?” but NO. They have to take that additional misguided leap into “we should have let the inspectors finish their job” and “the UN inspections were working and keeping Saddam in check”.
After the first Gulf War, President Clinton introduced to the UN the OIL FOR FOOD PROGRAM. This was to prevent the Iraqi citizens from being negatively affected by the economic sanctions placed on Saddam and targeting the demilitarizing of his regime. As we all know, corruption immediately followed. This did not serve as a deterrent to Saddam, but rather as a financing arm to his rebuilding efforts. Easily bribed countries and corporations were allowed to buy coupons for Iraqi oil and then sell them on the open market. Of course, there were handling fees at every step of the way – including a ridiculous 2.2% going straight to the UN as an administrative charge.
As the scandal was exposed, it was no surprise to find people involved all over the UN. And would you believe contracts given to France, Russia and China? Hmmm… let’s see. Those are the same three members of the security council that thought the UN inspections were working and Saddam was best left alone. You find some guy willing to stuff $100 bills in my back pocket and I’ll find a way to defend him.
After this scheme ended in 2003, the GAO stepped in to establish a clearer picture of the abuse. It estimated Saddam generated over $10 billion in illegal revenues (nearly $6B in oil smuggling and over $4B in bogus surcharges. And how about the Iraqi ambassador to Jordan, Sabah Yassan, using OFF money to pay $15k-$20k to families of Palestinian suicide bombers. And shockingly, there were even Al Queda linked people and organizations “on the take”. Yeah, I know. I know. Al Queda wasn’t in Iraq until we got there. They were funded from afar.
Bottom line is this, we may have gone in to the doctor with symptoms of WMD’s, but believe me that patient on the table was dying of something else. And I for one am glad the UN got exposed for the joke that it is. Those weapons inspections were NOT working and the UN is the last group the world needs handling money, human rights violations, or anything for that matter!