And for those who think we went to war in Iraq because we wanted to take over their oil fields, or because the president is seeking petty revenge for an assassination attempt on his father (perhaps if he'd attempted to assassinate Bill Clinton the high dudgeon of the left might have been stirred), or because the current crop of US warmongers just really enjoy blowing the crap out of other cultures, read the following very carefully:
Mr. Annan was at the helm of the U.N. for all but a few days of the Oil-for-Food program, and he must, therefore, be held accountable for the U.N.'s utter failure to detect or stop Saddam's abuses. The consequences of the U.N.'s ineptitude cannot be overstated: Saddam was empowered to withstand the sanctions regime, remain in power, and even rebuild his military. Needless to say, he made the Iraqi people suffer even more by importing substandard food and medicine under the Oil-for-Food program and pawning it off as first-rate humanitarian aid.I'm not saying the US has acted out of pure-minded altruism in Iraq. I am saying it acted out of reasonable self-interest, and that ought to be enough justification for our present labors.
Since it was never likely that the U.N. Security Council, some of whose permanent members were awash in Saddam's favors, would ever call for Saddam's removal, the U.S. and its coalition partners were forced to put troops in harm's way to oust him by force. Today, money swindled from Oil-for-Food may be funding the insurgency against coalition troops in Iraq and other terrorist activities against U.S. interests. Simply put, the troops would probably not have been placed in such danger if the U.N. had done its job in administering sanctions and Oil-for-Food.