The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Saddam Hussein was able to divert millions of dollars from the United Nations’ oil-for-food program in order to use that money to pay off the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Which, of course, is impossible since we know that Hussein never supported terrorism and was no imminent threat to anyone.
According to the AP,
The former Iraqi president tapped secret bank accounts in Jordan — where he collected bribes from foreign companies and individuals doing illicit business under the humanitarian program — to reward the families up to $25,000 each, [U.S. Congressional] investigators told The Associated Press.
Hussein may have been able to divert more than $21 billion from the oil-for-food program.
First, this illustrates that claims that the sanctions were causing humanitarian problems in Iraq were a complete sham. Hussein had plenty of opportunities to meet the basic needs of his people but, like other tyrants before him, chose his own interests — and those of terrorists — over his people’s.
Second, this and other ongoing scandals provide further examples of what a joke the United Nations is. From having Sudan head up the UN’s main human rights body, to allowing Hussein to divert UN-administered funds for terrorism, to the complete charade that is the UN’s efforts to stop genocide in Sudan, the UN has absolutely zero credibility.
Third, contrary to some pundits I’ve seen on cable news this weekend, this revolution does provide further evidence that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was the correct course of action. Certainly the United States was wrong on the major detail it hyped — the presence of easily deployable weapons of mass destruction — but certainly U.S. policy makers have been more than vindicated on the larger picture that Iraq was a major threat to the Middle East and the world, and would have only grown to become a bigger threat if it had not been dealt with.
A few weeks ago I ran across an academic study suggesting that the Iraq war was partially responsible for the decline in suicide bombings that Israel has experienced over the last couple years (obviously a big part of that decline is also the security fence, and I didn’t really look at the study close enough to see how they handled confounding variables like that). But I don’t think you need a study to realize that the world is better off without a government that openly solicited and funded terrorism.
Probe: Oil funds paid for bombers. Desmond butler, Associated Press, November 17, 2004.
Iraq oil corruption ‘tops $21bn’. The BBc, November 16, 2004.