11/29/2004

Rattling the Wallet

There's some scuttlebutt afoot that the United States would consider reducing its funding of the United Nations if they don't come clean about Oil-For-Food and start implementing major reforms in the wake of that fiasco.

Recent interviews with Congress members and staff investigators revealed growing shock and outrage at the scope of history's biggest financial scandal, in which Saddam Hussein is alleged to have ripped off $21.3 billion from a humanitarian program intended to provide food and medicine to the Iraqi people.

The officials said there is increasing sentiment to take drastic action, including cutting U.S funding if the United Nations doesn't make radical changes in its secretive policies and questionable management procedures.

The $1.12 billion annual U.S. contribution to the United Nations represents 22 percent of the world body's budget.
It important to note that this report is largely quoting unnamed sources and that no formal demand has yet been issued by either the congressional investigators or the Bush administration. Odds are that the sources in question leaked this to press to tighten the screws on the uncooperative Annan regime.

And tighten the screws they should. It's believed that Saddam Hussein skimmed some twenty-one billion dollars from the Oil-For-Food program and accepted bribes from companies competing for Oil-for-Food contracts. If the United Nations believes that it somehow has the right to shield itself from the consequences of its actions, I see no reason why it should be allowed to do so with American funding.

Furthermore, I fail to see why the United States should continue to shoulder so much of the financial burden for the operation of the United Nations. China, France and the United Kingdom are all among the ten largest economies in the world. As permanent members of the Security Council, they can afford to pony up a larger ante to sit at the big table.