paragons of virtue.....not!!

  1. 930 Posts.
    Anyone who thinks that the US, "The Great Satan" is the only guy wearing a black hat in this Iraq double shuffle, ..needs time out for a reality cheque.

    The rot runs right through from the land of "cheese eating surrender monkeys) (lol ...who makes these names up?) to the shiny @arsed bureacrats at the UN.

    Always amazes me how the yanks get the sh!tty end of the stick, earned or not, while the anti US activists look the other way when it comes to their crooked cronies and their crooked deals,
    .U.N. is hardly voice of morality on matter of Iraq
    Star Tribune
    October 23, 2002
    Katherine Kersten

    Does the United States need United Nations approval to launch a preemptive strike against Iraq? Some -- including our European allies -- say yes. They portray the United Nations as a kind of "world conscience," whose prudent and high-minded desire for peace can restrain America's "foolhardy rush" to war.

    Sadly, this rosy picture of the United Nations' moral authority does not comport with reality. U.N. member states range from liberal democracies to cruel and repressive authoritarian regimes. According to Freedom House, a human rights organization, only about 40 percent of U.N. states have freely elected governments, while over a quarter are tyrannies that withhold basic political and civil rights from their citizens. Russia and China -- among recent history's greatest human rights abusers -- hold two of the five permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council. As a result, they have power to veto any U.S.-proposed resolution on Iraq.

    Americans who advocate referring U.S. security issues to the United Nations should ponder the moral credentials of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (CHR). According to Human Rights Watch, CHR's elected members include "a virtual Who's Who of human rights violators," among them Cuba, Vietnam, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and even slave-holding Sudan. Recently, Libya was elected CHR's chair, while the United States was voted off the commission. Can America entrust vital security matters to an organization that routinely selects rogue nations as human rights watchdogs?

    Though U.N. halls often ring with high-flown rhetoric, self-interest and cynicism generally rule behind closed doors. The current debate on Iraq is a case in point. Several countries that are blocking military action against Iraq have a substantial financial interest in keeping Saddam Hussein's regime in power.

    Ironically, the United Nations itself is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Iraq's status quo. The organization administers the Oil-for-Food program, which is part of the U.N.-sponsored trade embargo against Iraq. The United Nations supervises the sale of Iraqi oil to pay for "humanitarian" and other imports, and then oversees the flow of those imports into Iraq.

    The sums involved are eye-popping. The United Nations presides over Oil-for-Food fund transfers of at least $15 billion a year. This sum -- five times greater than the U.N. core annual budget -- makes Oil-for-Food, in dollars, by far the largest U.N. program. So far, the United Nations has collected $1.2 billion in compensation for its administrative work, and Oil-for-Food pays the salaries of more than 4,000 U.N. employees.

    The United Nations benefits from Oil-for-Food in another way. Its bureaucracy manages more than $12 billion in escrowed Iraqi funds. Auditing is strictly internal; the organization won't even reveal where the money is kept. The Wall Street Journal's Claudia Rosett sums matters up this way: "Listening to [Secretary General] Kofi Annan's views on Iraq makes about as much sense as . . . heeding Arthur Andersen's pronouncements on Enron."

    Several members of the U.N. Security Council also profit from the Iraqi status quo. China recently reaped millions from modernizing Iraq's fiber-optic military communications network. Russia and France, both permanent Security Council members, have particularly close financial ties to Saddam's regime.

    Russia is Iraq's biggest trading partner. Since 1996, Russian companies have sold more than $4 billion in goods to Saddam's regime. In addition, Russian intermediaries handle 40 percent of Iraqi oil sales. (Iraq's oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia's.) Russian companies also hold development rights to some of Iraq's richest oil fields.

    If Saddam is overthrown, Iraqi oil will start flowing freely and world oil prices will drop. Since Russia itself is a major oil producer, its economy is likely to suffer severely if this occurs. (One Russian minister puts it bluntly: "Our budget will collapse.") Finally, Saddam's regime owes Russia nearly $8 billion. Russian officials fear that a new Iraqi government will refuse to repay this debt.

    France is also a major Iraqi trade partner. In the 1970s, France developed Iraq's nuclear industry. (Israel subsequently destroyed it.) Today, many French companies have lucrative contracts with Saddam's regime. Oil giant TotalFinaElf is better positioned than any other foreign oil company, holding rights to develop two gigantic Iraqi oil fields. If Saddam is overthrown, all these benefits may evaporate.

    Syria -- another Security Council member -- is ruled by the Baath Party, which also dominates Iraq. Every day, Syria helps Saddam smuggle about 180,000 barrels of oil out of Iraq, using a newly reopened pipeline. Saddam benefits by avoiding U.N. restrictions and accumulating revenues for his own personal treasury. Syria generates cash for its floundering economy.

    A significant number of U.N. member nations are determined to exploit the current crisis in Iraq for their own personal gain. In exchange for their votes on an American-sponsored resolution, they are demanding a host of behind-the-scene concessions -- monetary and otherwise -- from the United States. Is the United Nations a moral exemplar? Think again.

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