The United Nations has long been a bastion of hope for the naïve idealists who seek a Star Trek-like nirvana under a benevolent global government.
But recent stories revealing widespread corruption in its Iraqi Oil-for-Food program demonstrate that the U.N. is little better than a third-rate banana republic where bureaucrats line their own pockets and bribery, kickbacks and pay-offs are the order of the day.
According to news reports, recently discovered documents prove that Saddam Hussein was essentially paying off U.N. officials and striking sweetheart deals with French and Russian companies in order to ensure that he and his government could pocket billions of dollars (and francs, rubles, dinars, etc.) from the supposedly limited sale of Iraqi oil that was allowed under the U.N. Oil-for-Food program in order to feed the Iraqi people.
The news reports also claim that one of the principal recipients of Saddams largesse was the U.N. official who was running the Oil-for-Food program. In addition, a company which employed U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annans son received a key (and very lucrative) Oil-for-Food inspection contract.
In response to this growing scandal, Mr. Annan has appointed a panel led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to investigate. The panel will work out of U.N. headquarters in New York and the U.N. will provide their staff. (Anyone think this investigation will get anywhere?) Meanwhile, committees in both houses of Congress are also investigating, and the Iraqi Governing Council has hired the international accounting firm KPMG and a major law firm to get to the bottom of the mess.
The Iraqi Oil-for-Food program had been trumpeted as one the U.N.s greatest humanitarian successes. Now we learn the truth that it is just one more in a long list of failures and missteps by the organization that so many hoped would lead the world toward more democratic governments and more free populations.
The scandal also further demonstrates that the U.N. is nothing more than a tool of those nations whose interests are generally contrary to ours. Moreover, the U.N. has become a forum for proposals that would usurp our individual liberty and our money. For example, the U.N. has stepped up discussions of a worldwide "tax" on individuals, including Americans, based on national wealth as represented by the size of a countrys economy. Under such a system, Americans would pay a huge tax to the U.N. and the money would be distributed to other nations whose economies are not as successful as ours. This, despite the fact that the United States already contributes over 22% of the U.N.s annual budget.
In addition, the organization recently disclosed that it would like to seize control of the Internet. Since its development, the Internet has been run by a group of businesses in the United States and overseen by a small agency in the U.S. Commerce Department. Annan recently announced his belief that the U.N. should take over not only the oversight role of the World Wide Web, but the actual management duties, as well.
There is little question that the U.N. is broken and in need of repair. Until those repairs are made, however, the United States must continue to be wary of proposals from an organization that seeks to curtail our freedom and take a bite out of our incomes for the sake of global government.April 22, 2004