Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Oil for Food Won't Disappear
A couple of weeks ago the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on the investigation of the UN's Iraq Oil for Food program that I thought neatly summed up the current state of affairs. I didn't cite it then, because it also contained a strongly partisan component that I didn't fit with my decision not to endorse a presidential candidate. With the election over, that is no longer a concern.

After filtering out a bit of hyperbole and the comments about Mr. Annan--which verge on the personal--I believe the Journal correctly assesses the scale and importance of this scandal. As I've indicated before, I believe there is a strong case that the corruption in the Oil for Food program--and the influence that went along with it--goes beyond a simple financial scandal, because of the way it undermined the effectiveness of the international sanctions against Iraq, thus contributing to the incredibly messy scenario in which we now find ourselves.

If the war in Iraq had truly ended when President Bush declared major hostilities over, without the ensuing guerrilla campaign, the Oil for Food scandal might have been swept under the carpet in the interest of getting the new Iraq off to a good start. But given the protracted conflict in which we are locked, I doubt that the US Congress will let up on this issue or allow the Volcker investigation to lose traction, until all the facts come out.

As the casualty list mounts in the days to come, I hope the architects of this chicanery lose some sleep at the prospect of embarrassing revelations to come.

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