Sunday, August 21, 2005

No Wonder the UN Opposed War with Saddam Hussein

How do we know about the UN's oil-for-food scandal? asks Mark Steyn (thanks to RV).
We only know because the US invaded Iraq and the Baathists skedaddled out of town leaving copious amounts of paperwork relating to the Baghdad end of Oil-for-Fraud, since when Claudia Rosett and a few other dogged journalists have been systematically unstitching the intricate web of family and business relationships around the UN's operations.

The other day I sat behind a car from Massachusetts bearing the bumper-sticker "War is Never the Answer". Well, it depends on the question. In this case, without the war, we wouldn't even be asking the questions. Without the paper trail in Baghdad, who would have mustered the will to look into Oil-for-Food and see it through to the point where it's brought down a clutch of career UN bigwigs? They're no great loss to humanity: Mr Strong's "legacy", the Kyoto treaty, is already seen as a joke that's likely to crash the economies of those few countries who've made the mistake of taking it seriously (New Zealand), and, as for his North Korean outreach, we should be grateful it ended before a full-fledged Kim Jong-Il Nukes-for-Food programme was up and running.

But this is how the transnational jet set works, and those sensitive flowers who don't have the stomach to look under the rock could at least do us the favour of ceasing to bleat about, in Clare Short's marvellously loopy phrase, the UN's "moral authority". In The Times the other day, Matthew Parris demanded to know whether I could now admit the Iraq war had been a mistake. No. I'm still in favour of it 100 per cent — and these rare shafts of light on the sewers of transnationalism are merely one more benefit.

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