December 1, 2004

TAKE THAT, JOHN & RUDY:

Kofi Annan Must Go (NORM COLEMAN, December 1, 2004, Wall Street Journal)

It's time for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to resign.

Over the past seven months, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which I chair, has conducted an exhaustive, bipartisan investigation into the scandal surrounding the U.N. Oil-for-Food program. That noble program was established by the U.N. to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people, then languishing under Saddam Hussein's ironfisted rule, as well as the economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the U.N. after the first Gulf War. While sanctions were designed to instigate the removal of Saddam from power, or at least render him impotent, the Oil-for-Food program was designed to support the Iraqi people with food and other humanitarian aid under the watchful eye of the U.N.

Our Investigative Subcommittee has gathered overwhelming evidence that Saddam turned this program on its head. Rather than erode his grip on power, the program was manipulated by Saddam to line his own pockets and actually strengthen his position at the expense of the Iraqi people. At our hearing on Nov. 15, we presented evidence that Saddam accumulated more than $21 billion through abuses of the Oil-for-Food program and U.N. sanctions. We continue to amass evidence that he used the overt support of prominent members of the U.N., such as France and Russia, along with numerous foreign officials, companies and possibly even senior U.N. officials, to exploit the program to his advantage. We have obtained evidence that indicates that Saddam doled out lucrative oil allotments to foreign officials, sympathetic journalists and even one senior U.N. official, in order to undermine international support for sanctions. In addition, we are gathering evidence that Saddam gave hundreds of thousands -- maybe even millions -- of Oil-for-Food dollars to terrorists and terrorist organizations. All of this occurred under the supposedly vigilant eye of the U.N.

While many questions concerning Oil-for-Food remain unanswered, one conclusion has become abundantly clear: Kofi Annan should resign.


Wow. John Thune just made his bones taking out Tom Daschle and Rudy Guiliani can make his by taking down Hillary in '06, but Senator Coleman is after the scalp of a UN Secretary General. That'd go a long way with the Right.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 1, 2004 12:02 AM
Comments

Kofi's best hope right now is probably some major new crisis that would take the spotlight off the U.N. scandals. Barring that, he has to hope Paul Volker is willing to take being stonewalled and made a fool of in order to provide the U.N. with cover for stonewalling Coleman's investigation.

Posted by: John at December 1, 2004 12:45 AM

He'd get my vote. But he's probably a little too slick to go over real well with the nation as a whole.

Posted by: Timothy at December 1, 2004 1:24 AM

Volcker is a bought and paid for stooge, and when he came on the scene, any sentient being realized a cover-up was in the offing. It is precisely because Volcker is on the scene that Coleman's investigation became necessary.

What can Coleman actually do? He can't arrest Annan, or his associates, we've granted them all 'diplomatic immunity', a concept which is a vestige of the feudal age and should be eliminated. I doubt Bush has the stones to want us to do the obvious, and that is to quit the UN, order it off our shores within the next 24 hours, and turn the place into a new stadium for the Jets and/or Mets. All he can do is posture.

Posted by: Bart at December 1, 2004 3:30 AM

Or reinstate Helms-Biden. Cut off the money and reform follows as if by magic.

Posted by: Jeff at December 1, 2004 8:03 AM

Bart - the US has some strong leverage against the UN - withholding dues (most of the UN's funding source), not agreeing to peace keeping missions, boycotting committees, the building is in NYC, etc.

Bush may not have the stones to do anything but I'll bet he (and Rove) realize that probably 50% of the country is anti-UN and more revelations like this will push that number to 60-70% which would make taking action against the UN more acceptable.

Not just Kofi but all the top management and anyone connected to the Oil for Food program should go. And kick France off of the security council (replace with India)

Posted by: AWW at December 1, 2004 8:04 AM

With the termination of the Oil-for-Food program (fees on which effectively contributed at least a third of the UN budget), the US supplies a quarter of the UN's funding, Japan a tenth -- it's fair to say we could cut off 40% or more of the funding directly. Other countries would probably pare down their contributions rather than bear the load exclusively. Also, we can expose UN scandals - there's plenty of those - and most UN officials benefit from the fact that their countrymen in 3rd-world nations have no clue how corrupt the UN is or how rich they're getting in brief tours. They will bend a long way to make sure the people back home never do find out. So I'd say we have a tremendous amount of leverage, if we care to use it.

Posted by: pj at December 1, 2004 9:57 AM

pj,

Do you seriously believe that picayune nations like France or Spain or Belgium or Germany or Scandanavia would 'pare down their contributions' upon conclusive proof of corruption at the UN? These nations use it as a soapbox, as a means of poking a finger in the American eye, of forcing someone to listen to them.

As for the Turd Worlders at the UN, their nations are if anything even more corrupt than that festering boil on Turtle Bay. Do you think the permanent elite of Latin America, that runs its bureaucracies, its newspapers, etc cares about corruption? Do you think the jumped-up cannibals who run most of sub-Saharan Africa, after murdering all other opposition worry about stealing a few bucks? They just wish they were in the action.

So the US, Britain, Australia, Israel and Japan cut off funding. BFD.

Posted by: Bart at December 1, 2004 10:27 AM

Yes, that's correct, BFD.

If you believe that the UN can remain effective without the support of the named nations, you're wrong.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at December 1, 2004 1:07 PM

What's all this about 'remaining effective'? The UN ceased to be even mildly sufficient around 1965.

Posted by: ratbert at December 1, 2004 1:53 PM

Cut the funding; but not until after the elections in Iraq have settled. Keep threatening it; begin a meaningful discussion on legislation and put it to a vote in March.

Posted by: genecis at December 1, 2004 2:44 PM

Michael,

The UN isn't effective now. It serves as a cash cow for favored bureaucrats and as a soapbox for the tediously sanctimonious and hypocritical among nations. The named nations could cut their funding and the soapbox would continue to serve its purpose. All the other programs might get cut, but the expense accounts will just keep going.

Posted by: Bart at December 1, 2004 3:15 PM

Bart:

So what are you worried about ?

If the UN is all about third world politicians grandstanding to other third world politicians, then why should we care what they do ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at December 1, 2004 8:53 PM

OJ:

Coleman is as close to a natural as I've seen in a while. GWB is very comfortable with him. Weaver (McCain's guru) and Rove may be talking to each other now, but if McCain gets the nomination, you know Rove will be frozen out. Little birds here in Tennessee tell me that Frist won't go for the nomination (to be fair, other little birds say otherwise), and he was widely rumored to be the leader in the race to get Rove to head up q campaign. If Frist is out, Rove will be looking for a candidate that Bush likes, that will be a plus geographically (Minnesota will flip to Red) and ethnically(Coleman is Jewish.)

Coming from a state whose Senator, a drunk (Estes Keefauver)almost got the Democratic nomination for President in 1952solely because of his role in Senate hearings on organized crime, I have never underestimated the power of this vehicle to really launch someone into contnetion from nowhere. Republicans have been in control of the Senate so relatively little until recnet years, they have forgotten this. The media is used to covering hearings only when the embarass Republicans ( which are freely available even when Republicans are in the majority.) Coleman has picked the perfect foil.

Posted by: Dan at December 1, 2004 10:55 PM

Kofi's scalp on his belt would go a long way towards making him a player.

Posted by: oj at December 1, 2004 11:13 PM

Dan,

One of my favorite quotes in American politics was about Kefauver. It was during a campaign when Kefauver, who went to Harvard and was a rich boy, went around the state in a coonskin cap. The Senator, a Southerner, whose name I can't remember said of Kefauver 'He'd be a Chinese Communist if it would get him elected?'

Do you know who said that?

Posted by: Bart at December 2, 2004 12:30 PM

THAT'S IT! Al Gore studied and practiced the "Kefauver Model" during the '00 presidential election (remember him wearing that plaid shirt).

Posted by: Dave W. at December 3, 2004 8:36 AM

Bart,

The Senator Keefauver defeated was Kenneth McKellar.

And, Dave W., the plaid shirt was copied from my kindergarten teacher's son, Lamar Alexander.

Posted by: Dan at December 3, 2004 3:37 PM
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