OIL-FOR-FOOD UPDATE….I’ve mentioned before that there’s plenty of blame to go around in the UN’s oil-for-food scandal, but a new Senate report provides some more detail about the scope of the Bush administration’s complicity in the affair:
A report released last night by Democratic staff on a Senate investigations committee presents documentary evidence that the Bush administration was made aware of illegal oil sales and kickbacks paid to the Saddam Hussein regime but did nothing to stop them.
The scale of the shipments involved dwarfs those previously alleged by the Senate committee against UN staff and European politicians….In fact, the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil ? more than the rest of the world put together.
….Yesterday’s report makes two principal allegations against the Bush administration. Firstly, it found the US treasury failed to take action against a Texas oil company, Bayoil, which facilitated payment of “at least $37m in illegal surcharges to the Hussein regime”.
….In its second main finding, the report said the US military and the state department gave a tacit green light for shipments of nearly 8m barrels of oil bought by Jordan, a vital American ally.
None of this excuses the sordid behavior of UN officials in all this, but it does show that they were hardly acting alone. Every country on the Security Council played a part in this scandal, including us.