More on the Oil for Food scandal from the Opinion Journal:
The latest pieces of news are last week’s data dump from Paul Volcker’s U.N.-blessed investigation of Oil for Food, and U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer’s report to Congress earlier this month. Everybody is still digesting these massive documents. But the most important conclusion is already clear: Saddam Hussein exploited the program to run the largest bribery scheme in the history of the world.
Yes, we mean that literally. Total turnover between 1996 and 2003 was about $97 billion, or $64.2 billion in oil sales and $32.9 billion worth of food and other “humanitarian” goods. Crucially, Saddam was able to manipulate the program largely because U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan–who was given more or less complete discretion to design Oil for Food by the Security Council resolution that created it–allowed him to pick and choose the buyers of his oil and the sellers of the humanitarian goods.
This meant the Iraq dictator could reward his friends and political allies with oil at below market prices and goods contracts at inflated ones. In the middle of the program, he also started demanding kickbacks on the contracts to add to the stream of unmonitored revenue he was already getting from oil smuggling.
These are the respective ‘allies’ whose asses John Kerry desires to kiss.