March 29, 2004

Safire on Oil-For-Food

With his second column on the topic in as many weeks, William Safire in officially "on the case" of the U.N. Oil-For-Food scandal on behalf of the N.Y.Times. He dares to go where the Times has previously feared to tread; to make the connection between the bribe and kickback money paid to French and Russian interests, and the opposition of those nations to Iraq's liberation:

To calm the belated uproar, Annan felt compelled to seek an "independent high-level inquiry," empowered by a Security Council resolution, as some of us called for.

Nothing doing, said France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sablière. The money for the huge heist known as the Iraq-U.N. account passed exclusively through BNP Paribas. French companies led all the rest (what's French for "kickback"?), though Vladimir Putin's favorite Russian oligarchs insisted on sharing the wealth. That explains why Paris and Moscow were Saddam's main prewar defenders, and why their politicians and executives now want no inquiry they cannot control.

Posted by dan at March 29, 2004 6:52 PM