Urbin Report

Thursday, March 10, 2005

What is the UN good for?

Andrew Sullivan has a damn good article on the subject. Read the whole thing, but here are some highlights:

the director of the Oil-For-Food program, Benon Sevan, received lucrative oil contracts from Saddam, worth up to $1 million. The program itself was rife with corruption, enriching Saddam to the tune of $6.5 billion, while paying off a whole range of "persons the programme did not recognise as oil purchasers."
...the current Human Rights Commission's working group is made up of the Netherlands, Hungary, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. No, I'm not making that up.
the U.N.'s own solution - sending round after round of weapons inspectors while maintaining sanctions and the oil-for-food program - was an exercise in absurdity. The weapons inspectors could never prove what they were supposed to prove without Saddam becoming an entirely different kind of leader (and they would never have been sent at all without the insistence of Britain and the U.S.);
Imagine we had followed the U.N. line and not gone to war. The corrupt Oil-For-Food program would have been continued, while pressure to remove all sanctions would have increased. Saddam would be gradually rebuilding the ability to threaten the region and the world. Hundreds of shady businessmen, lobbyists, pseudo-journalists and bureaucrats would have seen their own bank accounts padded with lucrative oil contracts. The Iraqi people would continue to live in a fast-collapsing police state, kept barely alive by medicine and food supplies from the U.N. that were also the means to keep them under Saddam's thumb. How on earth would this have been anything but a disaster and an injustice? Yes, war critics are right to say that we now know the WMD threat was greatly exaggerated. But it is equally true that we now know that the status quo the war critics preferred was inefficient, corrupt and deadly to the Iraqi people.
If the U.N. is powerless in the face of genocide and corrupt in the face of dictatorships, how can it be relied upon to do anything of any real meaning in the world?
That kind of work is left to the despised leaders of the West - the George Bushes and Tony Blairs and John Howards. They are actually accountable to voters, where U.N. bureaucrats are accountable once in a blue moon to Paul Volcker.
without these Western leaders and military powers, the Taliban would still be in power and Saddam would still be skimming off U.N. dollars. And Kofi Annan would be making excuses for both. After all the huffing and puffing of the last three years, doesn't that tell you all you really need to know?

Damn Skippy!