There are two more must-read articles on the U.N. Oil-for-Palaces program. First, John O'Sullivan in National Review Online:
We should not be altogether surprised at the corruption revealed here. Multi-national organizations like the U.N. and the European Union are regularly plagued by financial scandals because they bring together three incentives for dishonesty: large sums of money sloshing around, the absence of the financial accountability built into the political arrangements of established nation-states, and a belief in their own sanctity and importance that enables them to overlook any sins they may commit.
Second, Claudia Rosett in the Wall Street Journal:
The harder the United Nations tries to keep a lid on Oil for Food, the more the scandal keeps boiling over. This past Sunday Secretary-General Kofi Annan appeared on "Meet the Press," rejecting as "outrageous" allegations that this graft-ridden U.N. relief program for Iraq had helped prop up Saddam Hussein's regime, and denying that the U.N. has made any attempt at a coverup. Asked by host Tim Russert why only a portion of the documentation requested of the U.N. by the U.S. General Accounting Office had been turned over, Mr. Annan protested: "We are open. We are transparent."
That sounded lame enough, coming just after Mr. Russert on national TV had flourished in front of Mr. Annan a letter sent by Mr. Annan's own Secretariat on April 14, advising one of the pivotal Oil for Food contractors, Saybolt International--which oversaw Saddam's oil exports--to keep quiet.
Despite all of this, liberals and internationalists continue to look at the U.N. through heavily tinted, super-thick-yet-lightweight, rose-colored glasses.