Wake Up!
by Max Power


The United States led coalition of the willing has won a spectacular military victory in Iraq. Now for the hard part… bringing a stable democratically based form of government to a people who have had no free will for the better part of three decades. Not only that but we have to help the Iraqis do this sandwiched between an Islamic radical fundamentalist government to the east and a tyrannical Baathist one to the west. What makes this effort even more difficult is that the U.N., the supposed international watchdog organization, is demanding to be a part of the reconstruction of a country whose people the U.N. refused to help.

I wonder if everyone in the world would be so enamored about a big U.N. role if they knew what the U.N. was up to in Iraq for the past 7 years. The U.N. set up the oil for food program in 1996. The U.N. told the international public that it would oversee the sales of Iraqi oil; sales that were supposed to be used for purchasing food and medicines for the Iraqi populace. What the program turned out to be was a cash cow for both the U.N. and Saddam Hussein. To start out there were initially limits to the amount of sales Saddam could make under this program. Shortly after, in 1998 the limit was raised then in the next year the limit was removed entirely. This might seem great to those who naively believe Saddam would use this money to help his own people but recent facts prove the something else. Since the start of the program the U.N., specifically Kofi Annan, oversaw $64 billion in Iraqi oil sales and more than $39 billion in relief purchases, plus billions more for compensation programs for foreign victims of the Gulf War. The U.N. collected a commission on these oil sales of 2.2 percent to cover administrative costs (the handling part in "shipping and handling") that generated over $1 billion for the U.N. treasury. Not a bad paycheck for "helping" out the starving masses of Iraq.

What the U.N. was doing was being the go between for the Iraqi dictator and the countries falling over each other to do business with him. The program was set up so that the Iraqis would ask to sell X amount of oil, write out a list of what they wanted to use the money for; and the U.N. committee in charge, headed by Kofi Annan, would then approve the list and the cash would flow.

Here of some example of what was asked for by Saddam through this program and was approved by the Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Annan. To start there was $4 million for items needed by Saddam's Ministry of Justice such as phones, vehicles and air conditioners. I'm surprised they didn't ask for money for new hoses to beat the "justice" out of their prisoners. Also approved was $20 million for Saddam's son Uday's pet project, an Olympic village complete with a hotel for foreign athletes and $10 million worth of "sports materials and supplies". This is the same guy that executed Iraqi soccer players when they did poorly. At least they could kick around new soccer balls before he cut their legs off. Let's not forget Saddam's comical "Information" Minister, Mohammed Saeed al Sahaf, who received $50 million in Kofi approved funds for television and radio studios, mobile broadcasting vehicles, radio and television transmission equipment and fiber optic technology provided by the Chinese, and best of all… animation production studios and equipment. I bet those starving Iraqi children felt better going to sleep at night watching Saddam propaganda cartoons instead of eating. After all many still believe the starving caused by the sanctions is the fault of the U.S., not the fault of Saddam or the bungling U.N.; but I'm sure a Saddam Toon reassured them.

Who was all of these sales going to? Take a guess…Russia got more than $7.3 billion from the oil for food program. Egypt got more than $4.3 billion, China got more than $3 billion and good 'ol France made more than $3.7 billion from selling Saddam basically anything he wanted. By the way over $13 billion from the program is in French banks whose anonymity is protected by the U.N. The U.N. won't even admit the money is there despite being confronted with the facts. Very interesting. By doing this these countries along with the U.N. were propping up Saddam rule and profiting off of it. Once again it's no wonder that the U.S. and its partners were so strongly opposed in the Security Council. By making the U.N. keeps its word by disarming and ousting Saddam the coalition has struck a huge blow those countries finances. When you step back and look at how those countries have acted since the end of the Gulf War you have to ask yourself whose side were they on? When faced with all of these billions in dealings with Saddam, some of them illegal, you would come to the conclusion that they were allies of Saddam and not the U.S. and its partners. Allies don't spout anti U.S. slogans, sell illegal weapons to the U.S.'s foes, try and stop the U.S. from protecting itself and its partners. The U.S. government really needs to reexamine its traditional relationships and how it deals with the U.N. We have hopefully started a process in the Middle East that will eventually rid the region of tyrannical dictators and militant fundamentalist regimes. We need to figure out who is truly with us in this endeavor and who is going to oppose us. Friends who stab you in the back are not your friends. The State department needs to realize this and stop playing pals with those "friends" just because they were seen as allies in the past. Things change. If we don't finally stop playing the diplomatic game by not calling liars on their lies we will be forever fighting the global war on terror with no end in sight.

Max Power

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