Friday, December 03, 2004

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

This in the Times yesterday:

"President Bush called for a 'full and open'' accounting of Iraq's now-defunct oil-for-food program following accusations Iraqi President Saddam Hussein illegally reaped billions of dollars from it because of Annan's lack of oversight."

Okay, so a couple of billion dollars found its way into Saddam's coffers because Kofi wasn't paying attention, but it was the Security Council that was supposed to be overlooking this program. But if the Bush administration is calling for full disclosure, I think it's only fair that Bush reveal his oil profits and its sources. And Iraq isn't under Saddam's control and the reason for that is because he had weapons of mass destruction, yet unfound. Plus there is the issue of defense contracts awarded on a non-competitive basis to companies that are now overcharging the government under those same contracts. If we're going to talk about a lack of oversight, what about the post-war planning in Iraq?

Now if you think the two are seemingly unrelated, here is the connection:

Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota is qouted in the article as saying, "In order for the taxpayers of the United States to feel comfortable about supporting the United Nations, there has to be an open accounting,'' he said.

33 Comments:

At 1:51 PM, Blogger CynicalGeek said...

Marc Rich, the tax-evading fugitive that Clinton pardoned before leaving office, was a middle man for the UN Oil-for-Food program. Of course he is still living in Switzerland. Denise Rich, his wife, is probably giving millions to the Clinton Library. Kofi Annan's son, Kojo, was responsible for inspecting the goods.

It's really no surprise that France, Germany, Russia, China and Great Britain have rushed to defend Mr. Annan. And it is no surprise that Texaco/Exxon/Bush are being blamed. The Oil-for-Food scandal was going on after the U.N. imposed sanctions, and before the U.S. went into Iraq.

--Lawfirmgeek--
www.lawfirmgeek.com

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

Correct, LawFirmGeek. During and since the Iraq war, there has been evidence of corruption found on the part of the U.N., France, Russia, China, Britain and, last but not least, the United States. This is the world, we're all at it. I believe all the original poster was trying to say is that, in essence, what was going on at the U.N. was no worse than what went on in the U.S. in the run up to the war.
No-one is attacking America, I think they are merely seeking an acceptance that she is no better than everyone else.
Let's all stop taking sides and saying one is better or worse than the other. Better to be cynical about the intentions of everyone; to be anything else borders on naivete.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger Mr. Blog said...

You, sir, are an idiot.

Bush profits from oil did not, and do not pay for the death and torture of innocents as Saddam's did, and still do.

You are probably suffering from what the news pundits have labeled "Post Traumatic Election Syndrom". Meaning, you are so angry and confused that Kerry lost the election that your overwhelming emotions have caused a short-circut in your cognitive reasoning abilities. Please seek professional help as soon as possible, I am worried about you... seriously, why are you still here reading this? your still here...

 
At 8:14 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Wow. Do you just invent your own rules of logic as you go?

First of all "couple billion" you so casually mention is actually 23.5 billion dollars. The Security Council is not responsible for oversight, the U.N.'s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS)is responsible for oversight. It has refused to make public any of the 55 audits done of the OFF program since 1996. Furthermore, the OFF scandal did not extend to the US government whereas it did involve high level officials from France, Germany, and Russia. Your facts on the OFF scandal are just wrong.

Secondly, what correlation is there with the OFF program and your desire "that Bush reveal his oil profits and its sources"? Is this a hint a conspiracy theory? It is well known that the President failed in his oil endeavors and the large majority of his wealth was generated through his stake in the Texas Rangers. The issue of defense contracts is largely overblown. I suggest you read this article from the Washington Post if you are interested in actual infromation instead of conspiracy theories, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60726-2004Sep29.html
Again, your "facts" are wrong

Your logic is faulty even if one assumes that your "facts" are right. Even if the the President and his administration were guilty of all these improprieties as you insinuate, why is the investigation of the UN OFF scandal tied to investigating the the adminsitration?

Should the guilty parties at the UN be spared investigation because you think the US has also engaged in corrupt actvities? Should we allow for a clear case of corruption to pass beacause you do not like the Bush administration? If you think about it this is what your post was all about wasn't it? It really wasn't about the UN of the OFF program, it was just an excuse to blow off some partisan steam. Logic be damned so long as you can make some hackneyed attack on the President right? I probably shouldn't even have wasted my time but I couldn't resist introducing some reality to a liberal.

 
At 8:14 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Niccolo2 said...

I'm a fairly left of center Dem, and I have lots of agreement with the Bushies, especially about bulldozing the UN into the East River after we get an accounting. Let's start over with a council made up of democratic (little "d") countries whose election standards pass muster. All for the Ukraine joining say "Aye!" Next, let's get the Israeli contractors building their wall to start one for us where SoCal meets the Pacific at the Mexican border, and run that sucker straight across to Texas. While we're at it, make having a US birth certificate or the proper green card or visa papers a condition of renewing your drivers license. America first is not a sentiment restricted to the right side of the aisle. And, while we're at it, let's admit us Dems got our heads handed to us by the GOP because they have better ideas and better grasp of the war situation. The sooner we start acting like Harry Truman and less like Michael Moore, the better. Then again, maybe I'm not a left of center Dem any longer...

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger Frank Ferris said...

There evidently was quite a bit of hanky-panky that I understand was centered in the Security Council, that OFF was a SC program over which Kofi Annan had virtually no control. What I see is Bush lashing out trying to place blame somewhere else for his spectacularly bungled crime in Iraq. The news I get reveals a relentless succession of horrors, from Abu Graib, to Halliburton, to the massacre in Falluja, to the crumbling of the "coalition," to the back door draft, to all the opposition to January 30 elections. And the list goes on.

The OFF was another crime that was far more destructive than this "war" in terms of human life. But then why not mention the crime of Saddam Hussein coming to power in the first place? It's hard for many to look at the facts, to believe that the U.S. has done abominable things. It's also hard to recognize that the U.S. has done all this for us, so we can maintain the standard of living to which we have been accustomed. Without the oil, we're toast.

 
At 7:05 AM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

I repeat: wrongs have been done on both sides, indeed on ALL sides. Historically, and in recent history. Yes, investigate the U.N. It needs a good kicking, to teach it how to become a creditable international institution once again, because at the moment it's no more than a glorified talking-shop.
It seems Bush will escape any rammifications of his alleged misleading of the country in the run up to the Iraq war, since the worst that could have happened to him as a result - losing the election - didn't happen. It's likely the jury will remain out on whether the ends justified the means in that case for another 100 years or so. This is a source of frustration for anti-war and anti-Bush campaigners, but it is correct that it doesn't mean the U.N. should not be investigated.

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger D. said...

The jury isn't out on the war in Iraq. We've already lost. Our objectives, goals, strategies have all failed it's just the media, (and the Democrats) refuse to say it cause they don't wanna be called unpatriotic.
No one believes this war was justified now, (even you joe, you're just too stubborn to admit it) with all the scandals with torturing prisoners, to no WMD's, to the missing funds for rebuilding Iraq. It's quite obvious that the costs far outweighed the benefits. The attack on Kofi Anan is just more of the same ideological dogma from the right. The Oil for food program is a scandal, and is being investigated by Paul Volker, the former U.S. Chairmen of the Federal Reserve. and he will be issuing his report by the end of Jan.
As for the U.N. being irrelevant, that's just absurd. They are the only organization recognized as the mouthpiece of international law. Just because you believe the USA has the moral authority to bestow legitimacy on other countries, doesn't mean the rest of the world has the same faith in our judgment as you do.
These attacks on the U.N. stem from the ultra-right wing organizations from the 1950's, like the John Birch Society who thought of the UN as a form of world socialism and would use it's influence to bring Soviet style communism to America, It wasn't true then, and it's not true now. It's so sad that the liberals in this country have been so castrated that they can't even defend the basic principles of Democracy any more.

 
At 2:50 PM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

I do, essentially, agree with you, D. I don't, and never did, think the Iraq war was justified. I've long since given up arguing the point though, partly because it's impossible to change some peoples' minds, and partly because we're there now, and we have to deal with the situation at hand.

I also never meant to imply the U.N. was irrelevant, apologies if I did. I believe the U.N. to be the single most important international institution there is, and that is why I so detest the way it lets itself be bullied around by the United States. I do not believe the U.S. has the moral authority to dictate international law, as it is attempting to do at Guantanamo Bay in particular. That is the role for the U.N., so what is it doing about it? How is it upholding international law? All it ever seems to do is confer legitimacy on U.S. foreign policy, up until this administrattion, when the U.S. finally decided it doesn't even need it for that.
I suppose that is the frustration I have. The U.N. is weak, weaker than it should be, but that is a result of the way the United States treats it: with contempt at the best of times, ignoring it at the worst.

Having said all that, I do think that if there has been corruption at the U.N., and it certainly seems that there has, then it should be investigated. I don't believe it is only partisan Republicans with a vendetta against the U.N. that are making these allegations. They are just gloating a lot.

I suppose the point I would most like to make is that the U.N. is a sum of it's parts. It is made up of member states, with certain members (5 permanent members of the security council: Britain, U.S., France, Russia, China) being more important, as they have veto powers. It is how these parts - these member states - treat the U.N. that dictates how it performs. Treat it with respect, dignity and put your faith in it and it will flourish and be strong. Treat it with contempt, attempt to manipulate it and ignore it when you want to, and it will inevitably become weak and corrupt. Republicans (in particular) need to understand, if the U.N. currently has problems, it is up to us all to help fix them. If we just ridicule it and refuse to acknowledge its importance then it may collapse or continue to flounder, and that would be to the detriment of us all.

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger spaghetti happens said...

There is going to be an open accounting, by the Volker Committee, which was established by the Security Council. Norm Coleman is obviously carrying water for the gastropods of the Bush Administration (which, I admit, is a smear on slugs, snails, and all tummy-walkers throughout the world).

I suspect Volker has found that a lot of well-known American companies--eg, Halliburton and Bechtel--benefited illegitimately from the Oil for Food program, to say nothing of how they benefited from Saddam's government generally. Ergo, Volker must, in true Bush fashion, be discredited and his work ignored.

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger spaghetti happens said...

Niccolo2, no you're not a left-of-center Dem anymore; you're a proto-Republican. Your whole tone of exclusivity reeks of the kind of divisiveness and finger-pointing that characterizes the holier-than-thou attitude of the Party of Bush.

You need to get a broader picture of what's going on, my friend, and admit that you've been duped by media forces obviously beyond your control. Michael Moore didn't lose this election; John Kerry and his patrons in the Democratic Leadership Council and other like bodies did. You can't be an opposition party when you support most of what your opponent is doing--and dear God how could anyone with a conscience agree with a single thing that Bush supports, especially the war in Iraq? Kerry could've stood up for progressives, but he chose The Waffle.

Personally, I'm tired of liberals being afraid to say what they are. And if you want to call yourself a democrat, sir, then you'd better get hip to what the little people are thinking.

 
At 8:33 PM, Blogger gubermintcheez said...

Dems need to get back to populism, the corporation whoring being done at the peoples expense will be make people beg to get a Dem back in the Presidency.
http://gubermintcheez.blogspot.com/

 
At 2:13 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

I'm going to give you applause, and hollar out a big F#@K YOU to the conservative idiots that have responded so far. They are not only showing their arrogance, but also their ignorance and stupidity. I'll never fully understand such blind following of the gump we call president by a little over half of America. Wake-up and smell the shizzle people.

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger Joe Cross said...

People, people please - I find what you're saying amusing, but let's elevate the discourse and have respect for other peoples' point of view!
If you think so little of your opponents, then refuse to sink to their level rather than lambasting them in the very tone you criticise them for using.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Magnum Serpentine said...

Very well said. And as we know, the louder the repubniks and christian right scream, the closer to the truth we are.

Good going, keep up the good work.

 
At 6:25 PM, Blogger Los said...

"Bush profits from oil did not, and do not pay for the death and torture of innocents as Saddam's did, and still do."

What I find interesting about the whole Iraq war is that many in our country actually believe that illegally invading a sovereign nation for supposed weapons of mass destruction/freeing the people, leveling their country and killing tens of thousands of the citizens if that country is justified. I agree that Saddam’s killing of thousands of his own people was horrific, but it couldn’t have been that bad… they didn’t fight back now did they? Now however the most powerful military in the world cannot quell the people of that country. How is it that a country of millions did nothing to usurp their ruler but can fight a deadly war against insurmountable odds and the mightiest armies on the planet? Maybe because they weren’t that unhappy till us arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical people from the US decided that we couldn’t put up with Saddam and his evil ways.

What we need here in the US is a good old-fashioned revolution. It’s time to boot these psychotics out of office be it by pen or by sword. Of course that is unlikely to happen because we are complacent and god knows the average fat-assed American (myself included) would not risk his life to make a change in our government. We’ll continue to let the rich rule us until we’re so unhappy that we finally rise up and do something about the ruling minority. Yeah right…

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Niccolo2 said...

In response to millerdunwoody: I've always been a Dem, I've always voted for Dems, and I continue to support the Dem party. That said, I can disagree about the UN with a clear conscience. Having lived in NYC area for many years, I've seen the actions of UN personnel "up close and personal", and it is not always a pretty picture. My belief is that (in general) what good comes out of the UN comes from the work of the democratic countries. Hence, my thinking is that a new organization might serve all interests better. Emerging democratic countries, like the Ukraine strives to be, get that way because their people get ideas about a better life from exposure to the media of and travel to the free countries. They don't get much help from the UN. Is this UN a force for positive change? In some cases, the answer is obviously yes. But, I also believe that if you dig deeply enough under the positive accomplishments you find one (or more) of the democratice countries working hard, taking a leadership position, and getting things done DESPITE the goings-on in midtown Manhattan. I predict that when Paul Volker is done, there is going to be lots of egg to go around for the faces of UN diplomats from some of our "supposed" friends. Do I support unilateral invasion of another country? No. Do I think the war in Iraq was necessary? Likely not. Was it attacking the "low hanging fruit"? Most definitely, otherwise Bush would have taken on N Korea or Iran. But, I don't think the UN is the answer either. And I really believe that the immigration problem is both an economic security and physical security issue that demands an answer. I don't think Bush has the right answer on immigration because I think he (like some leftist Dems) see the influx of Mexicans as future votes for his party, but some factions within the ranks of the Republicans are pushing for immigration reform. And I believe that "good fences make for good neighbors". I was perhaps being a bit facetious in my post just for the fun of it, but there are Dems like me who don't think cozying up to Michael Moore was the answer. And to be honest, I really didn't know too much about John Kerry before he became the frontrunner, but when I found out that he had been to Vietnam and then threw away his medals and testified before congress in the way he did, I got that sinking feeling that the party had blown it again by picking the wrong man. As I repeated in my post, the next Harry Truman is what the Dems need to return to power. And I'm not sure old Harry would cotton to the machinations of the current UN.

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Christiana said...

I often find myself at a loss when discussing the UN and the Iraq war, because I don't like either one. I wasn't a fan of going to war even when we thought that there were WMD's there, but I conceded that something needed to be done. Now that the WMD's are missing, I'm pretty pissed off. At the same time, I have an almost knee-jerk dislike for the UN, because they are incredibly ineffective. The only reason that the war is "illegal" is because it wasn't approved by the Security Council. And now we find out that the 'nay' votes in the security council were involved in a number of corrupt financial arrangements with Iraq. Let me repeat, I did not want us to go to war, but when I hear the UN talking about the 'illegal' actions taken by the US, it just makes me want to shout: "Well, at least we did something! You guys just wrote them angry letters for twelve years, all the while taking bribes from Saddam!" Ugh. This topic is always unpleasant, because it makes me try to defend the war. Blech!

 
At 5:25 PM, Blogger D. said...

"At the same time, I have an almost knee-jerk dislike for the UN, because they are incredibly ineffective. The only reason that the war is "illegal" is because it wasn't approved by the Security Council."
------------------------------------------------------
This in unfair. The U.N. is a body that represents all the nations of the world and deals with issues before war breaks out. Before the U.N. countries formed alliances where events spiraled out of control. World War I started because of a lack of communication between rival countries. Obviously, there are still alliances and secret deals but the U.N. at least allows a forum to discuss things that's internationally recognized and respected.


"...but when I hear the UN talking about the 'illegal' actions taken by the US, it just makes me want to shout: "Well, at least we did something! You guys just wrote them angry letters for twelve years, all the while taking bribes from Saddam!" Ugh. This topic is always unpleasant, because it makes me try to defend the war. Blech!"
-------------------------------------------------------------
This isn't true.
The U.N. DID there job. They kept Saddam CONTAINED and kept him from re-acquiring WMD's by helping set up and enforcing the embargo. The Oil for Food Program was a huge scandal (over 1.7 billion) and is being investigated. But it's been clear from the beginning that U.S. companies also violated the embargo and illegally profited by doing business with Iraq.
The administration knows this and have spun the story about the oil for food into an attack against Kofi Annan. They are trying to UNDERMINE the U.N. so as to remove any more check on the Bush administration. As some one once stated, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"
We have a gov't of checks and balances to make sure no one person gets too much power.
The U.N. is a check against this sort of naked aggression wether it be China in Nepal, the Soviets in Afghanistan, Iraq in Kuwait, or Israel in the West Bank.

 
At 7:53 PM, Blogger bmayeux said...

Wow, this is some mighty fine debating...

I'd like to continue the reprimand to the fine young individual who chose explicates to express their discontent with conservatives. Aren't the Democrats that party that claims to "unite" the country? Then join your party and come convert the "ignorant" conservatives! Most of the ones I know are very open to opposing views so stop building walls with your vulgar bombast.

I've often been very skeptical of those who insinuate conspiracy theories. There just isn't logical proof for these esoteric plots. Find infallible evidence, please.

Wish I could've voted this year...Stupid age requirement...

 
At 7:54 PM, Blogger bmayeux said...

Wow, this is some mighty fine debating...

I'd like to continue the reprimand to the fine young individual who chose explicates to express their discontent with conservatives. Aren't the Democrats that party that claims to "unite" the country? Then join your party and come convert the "ignorant" conservatives! Most of the ones I know are very open to opposing views so stop building walls with your vulgar bombast.

I've often been very skeptical of those who insinuate conspiracy theories. There just isn't logical proof for these esoteric plots. Find infallible evidence, please.

Wish I could've voted this year...Stupid age requirement...

 
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Am I supposed to take this post seriously?

 
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