October 19, 2005


Volcker asks U.S., allies to link U.N. budget to reform (David R. Sands, October 19, 2005, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The United States and its allies should threaten to cut the budget of the United Nations if it fails to end corruption and adopt badly needed reforms, the man who led the probe into the U.N. oil-for-food scandal said yesterday.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that he opposed a unilateral U.S. withholding of U.N. dues, but that a "de facto alliance" of nations demanding reform could cut through the world body's "culture of inaction."

The message, he said, should be: "Look, if the organization isn't ready to reform itself, that has budgetary implications." [...]

"I absolutely agree it can't be seen as just an American initiative," [John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, ] told the Senate panel.

He said the U.N. summit last month on reform was "a good start," but that the United States was pushing for more.

Mr. Bolton said U.S. officials fear the momentum for reform might be lost if changes are not in place before member states approve a new two-year budget in December. He said U.S. officials are considering requesting the world body to adopt a short-term budget through the first quarter of next year to keep the pressure on. [...]

"As things stand, the U.N. has simply lost the credibility and the confidence in its administrative capacities necessary for it to meet large challenges that seem sure to arise in the future," Mr. Volcker said.

The former Fed chairman also revealed his estimate for the amount of money Saddam was able to skim off the program, which was shut down in 2003. Saddam was ousted by U.S.-led forces that year.

Mr. Volcker said his investigators estimate that Iraq earned about $12.8 billion in illicit payments under the oil-for-food program: $10.2 billion in smuggled oil sales to Jordan, Turkey and Syria, and $2.6 billion from bribes, kickbacks and other related scams.

If those who supported the war are going to be blamed endlessly for the absence of WMD, shouldn't those who opposed it be blamed for supporting Saddam financially?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 19, 2005 9:27 AM

Hey, I'm happy about the absence of WMDs.

As for the UN, how are you going to get an international consensus for reform when the whole point of the UN is to give cushy sinecures to corrupt foreigners?

Posted by: David Cohen at October 19, 2005 10:34 AM

How much do you want to bet that some of those billions ended up funding OBL?

In early 96 he was broke, in late 96, he was flush with cash & declaring war on the West.

An intervening event... "Oil for Food"

Posted by: Bruno at October 19, 2005 10:36 AM

Makes sense Bruno. Someday that probably, hopefully, will be proven.

Re WMD: Certainly the fact that we concentrated so many troops just outside of Iraq before the invasion supports the conclusion the coalition discounted the possibility of nuclear WMD.

However they did take a prepared risk with bio/chem. WMD and counted on the fear of like retribution to prevent their use. Sadaam in turn counted on our doubts as a deterrent and had Gore or Kerry won election, he probably would have gotten away with it.

Sadaam could have avoided the war but he recklessly gambled and his people lost. He should be tried for that crime after he's snuffed for current charges, as an example for future wannabes.

Posted by: Genecis at October 19, 2005 2:00 PM

Too avoid it he had to follow the UN REsolutions including democratizing, so he couldn't have avoided war.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2005 2:04 PM