Thursday, July 07, 2005

Missing Money

It's not hard to find expressions of indignation about the "oil for food" scandal. And hey - there's good cause for indignation. But many of the harshest critics of the UN, lamenting the manner in which Iraq's corrupt leaders diverted Iraqi money, are completely silent about this.
The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8bn that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone. A further $3.4bn appropriated by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance "security".
It took Hussein about a decade to siphon about $9 billion from "oil for food". It took Bremer a fraction of that time to lose $6 billion from the same program, along with a few billion dollars of money contributed by U.S. taxpayers. So, while I'm all for holding accountable those who participated in and profited from "oil for food", I would like to see some heads roll over the billions lost to corruption and incompetence under Bremer's watch.

And we complain about a whitewash at the UN.

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