This is a moment at which there is much to be learned about the U.N., though less from Mr. Annan's epistles than from the realities that have engendered themwrites Claudia Rosett.
We'll skip lightly past the footnote that Mr. Annan's articles lauding his own plans and importance are actually written by members of his ample public relations staff, whose tax-free salaries are covered in substantial part by U.S. taxpayers. We'll pause only for a moment to note that Mr. Annan, having denounced the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein as "illegal," managed in a Washington Post piece last week to credit himself for progress in Iraq with nary a nod to the U.S.--though the vital act allowing for all that Iraqi forward motion was the toppling of Saddam Hussein.In a similar vein, readers of No Pasarán will remember that when asked whether Iraq's historic January 30 elections represented a victory for the Bush administration, French government spokesman François Copé replied that they were "a great success for the international community."
And we'll give Mr. Annan the benefit of the doubt. Surely it was just another of his memory lapses, similar to those encountered by investigators of the Oil for Food scandal, that led him to omit any mention of the sacrifices of the Americans, British and other non-U.N. coalition members who for more than two years have been clearing and securing the way for the Iraqi progress about which he is now preening. …
[Kofi Annan's latest proclamation of such stuff as a fresh start and much progress and grand plans for reforming the U.N. -- he is particularly practiced at, having done it twice already, in 1997 and 2002 -- ] is unnervingly similar to the U.N. arrangement via Oil for Food in which Saddam paid 2.2% of his oil revenues to the U.N. to supervise the program. As long at the deal continued, the flow of funds to the U.N. was automatic. And because the money belonged by rights to the people of Iraq, but Mr. Annan did his U.N. deals not with them, but with Baghdad's tyrant, the effect was taxation without representation. The predictable result was a carnival of graft in which both Saddam and his biggest business partner, the U.N., hoodwinked the general world public and short-changed most of the 26 million Iraqis who were neither family members of U.N. top officials, nor cronies of Saddam.