Oil for Graft Program

The news from the Times of London is not especially shocking, except for the sheer scale of corruption in the Oil for Food Program that it reveals. Benon Seven, director of the program, received almost a million dollars from sales of Iraqi oil contracts, provided to him by Saddam at cut-rate prices. A French oil firm linked to Jacques Chirac bribed U.N. inspectors to forge documents. Members of Vladimir Putin's staff were also on the take. Et cetera.

Two thoughts:

1. Well, this explains a lot! I can only imagine how terrified the corrupt officials throughout the U.N. and Europe were that their venal ways would come to light after Saddam's overthrow. I hope that the rule of law will now prevail, and these crawling toads will be thrown out of office (and perhaps in jail?). Of all the crimes that are commited by government officials, accepting bribes is possibly the worst.

2. No leader of a free nation should submit his country's safety to the demands of these clowns. I am in favor of an organization like the United Nations in principle, but episodes such as this prove that the present organization must either clean up its act or be dismantled like any other organization of lawbreakers. This is also a warning against forming a "global government" in which the states would give up sovereignty. Immanuel Kant, in his essay "Perpetual Peace," advocated a federation of independent states, and warned that a true world government would become a "soulless despotism." There is no way to check the power of a world government, which will inevitably encroach on its citizens until it becomes a true tyranny.

In other news...

This essay by Radek Sikorski provides some needed perspective on the reconstruction of Afghanistan. My favorite quote:

Tens of thousands of people died in this country every month in the 1980s during the war with the Soviet Union and it wasn't news. Hundreds died every month in the 1990s from mines and the civil war and that wasn't really news either. Today, casualties are in the dozens most months, and suddenly it is news, taken by some as evidence of imminent collapse. For the first time in a quarter century, more Afghans are now dying in car accidents than in politically motivated violence--a miracle, even allowing for atrocious Afghan driving.

Read the rest, it's quite good.

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