Monday, September 26, 2005

U.N. Accountability

Claudia Rosett has been investigating the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal, and investiating the investigators (the Volcker Commission). Up on the Weekly Standard this week is her latest column on the matter. An excerpt:

If Volcker's September 7 "main report" is to be the final word on U.N. management of this fiasco, then the bottom line is this: Under a program involving thousands of U.N. employees, nine U.N. agencies, and an administrative budget totaling $1.4 billion, the United Nations abetted Saddam Hussein in one of the biggest heists in history--and no one, except for a couple of third-tier U.N. officials, is being punished for it. Annan, having taken "responsibility," is still at his post. His deputy, Louise Fr├ęchette, having directly supervised the corrupt official heading Oil-for-Food, is now in charge of U.N. reform. And the former head of Oil-for-Food, Benon Sevan, accused by Volcker of taking at least $147,000 in bribes from Saddam, has been allowed to cash in his U.N. pension and leave the country.

She summarizes very nicely what has been frustrating to me: the complete lack of accountability at the U.N. Combine that with it's complete lack of effectiveness and relevance, and I can't help but join the (growing) group of people who are wondering why in the heck we have a U.N. at all — and most especially why do we have a U.N. that is (a) largely financed by the U.S. taxpayer, and (b) headquartered on American soil.

What's the point, exactly? Someone please let me know...

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