Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Another faux GOP witch hunt in the making . . .

A couple of my red-state conservative pals recently tried to goad me into an argument over the alleged corruption in the UN-administered oil-for-food program.

They had their panties in a bunch over this faux scandal and were actually thinking they had me over a barrel on the issue and were looking for the nearest oak tree to string U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan from.

Sometimes you have to wonder at the level of stupidity and rank hypocrisy which courses through the cold veins of today's conservative ReThuglicans.

Here's (scroll down a bit) a great response to the allegations against Annan and the U.N. - - - - -


House Republicans -- some of whom presumably don't care for the United Nations, period -- are in high dudgeon over alleged corruption in the UN-administered oil-for-food program. Some of them are calling for Kofi Annan's resignation, and more:

Rep. Scott Garrett (news, bio, voting record), R-N.J., said stepping down may not be enough for Annan.

"To me the question should not be whether Kofi Annan should remain in charge," he said. "The question is whether he should be in jail," he said.

Garrett and four other Republican lawmakers spoke at a Capitol news conference in support of a bill that would withhold some U.S. dues to the United Nations if the organization doesn't fully cooperate with investigations of the program.

Three other Republicans, Rep. Vito Fossella of New York and Reps. Dan Burton and Mike Pence of Indiana also said Annan should resign. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., declined to join them, saying he didn't want calls for Annan's removal to distract from the oil-for-food investigations.

Separately, another lawmaker, Rep. Roger Wicker (news, bio, voting record), R-Miss., said he would introduce a House resolution calling for Annan's resignation.

"These allegations of corruption and mismanagement have seriously undermined Mr. Annan's credibility and his capacity to head the U.N.," Wicker said.

I know I'm more or less wasting my time to expect any consistency from these guys, but still, for the record: None of these guys voted against the DeLay Rule allowing GOP leaders indicted for a criminal offense to retain their posts. Rep. Garrett, who thinks perhaps Annan deserves to be in jail, took $15,000 from DeLay's PAC. And more to the point, I don't see them making a fuss over the 27 separate criminal investigations into Coalition Provisional Authority contracts in Iraq, involving millions of dollars of fraud and waste of taxpayer money. No outrage at all, really, no calls for accountability or resignation, let alone jail time for those at the top.

It's easy to see what's really going on here, of course. As the left-wing pinkos at the Financial Times put it today:

The witch-hunt against Kofi Annan and the United Nations over the Iraq oil-for-food scandal is, quite simply, a scandal all on its own. The leaders of this lynch mob in the US Congress and the rightwing commentariat are not gunning for Mr Annan so much as aiming to destroy the UN as an institution. That would be a disaster - for all of us, including, especially, the US. ...

First, the oil-for-food policy was devised and run by the member states of the UN Security Council, not by the UN Secretariat. All of the roughly 36,000 contracts were approved by a Security Council committee dominated by the US and the UK. Of these, about 5,000 were held up. But objections were entirely about imports to Iraq that might have offered Baghdad dual-use technology with which to reconstitute its weapons programmes. There was not one objection about oil-pricing scams, although UN officials brought these to the attention of the committee on no fewer than 70 occasions. ...

If the independent inquiry headed by Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, finds any UN official complicit in Iraq's roughly $4.4bn oil price skimming, then that person should have his diplomatic immunity lifted and be prosecuted. But there is nothing here to be laid at the door of Mr Annan, even though the lobbying activities of his son Kojo, who was still receiving severance payments from a company seeking Iraq's trade after oil-for-food started, will have hurt him.

Well said.

As to my dear conservative acquaintances and their zeal to bash the U.N. - - -

well -- what do you expect from these hordes of uninformed ditto-heads, Hannity hacks, and O'Reilly boot-lickers? When those three serial lying, millionaire pundits comprise one's sole source of news and information, it's quite easy to see why my friends are so stupid.

End of discussion of this subject. I win.

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