Some people just don’t know when to quit.
Annan said he plans to concentrate on reform of the United Nations in the last two years of his term, a process that began last week with the release of a report by a high-level panel that analyzed global threats and made 101 recommendations on how to tackle them.
“I have quite a lot of work to do and I’m carrying on with my work,” Annan said when asked when he would respond to those calling for his resignation. “We have a major agenda next year, and the year ahead, trying to reform this organization. So we’ll carry on.”
Even the DLC has joined in the act, although following an Instapundit post, they did later clarify that “in calling for the secretary general to “step aside,” we meant to convey that he should remove himself from any involvement in the oil-for-food investigation, and let Paul Volcker, a man of unquestioned integrity and ability, conduct it independently, and publicly release his findings. We deeply regret this error.”
Anyway, they had this to say:
Unfortunately, the United Nations’ credibility has been steadily eroded by its own misdeeds, with a burgeoning scandal over its incompetent and sometimes corrupt management of the Iraq oil-for-food program being the most damaging example. Last week it was reported that the son of U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan received a series of payments from a Swiss firm that won a lucrative contract under the oil-for-food program. This development has fed growing doubts that the United Nations will be able to own up to its problems or reform its operations so long as Annan remains at the helm.
The appearance of a payoff to the secretary general’s son was just the latest in a series of revelations about the oil-for-food program. Begun in 1996, the program allowed Baghdad to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy food and other humanitarian goods in order to soften the impact on the Iraqi people of the sanctions imposed on the country after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. A U.N. committee supervised the program; vetted contracts for food purchases; arranged payments; and hired inspectors to ensure Iraq did not import material that could be used for arms.
But mismanagement, corruption, and manipulation of the program by Saddam Hussein allowed his regime to amass at least $21 billion outside of the United Nations’ control, with the great bulk of that sum — $17.3 billion — pilfered between 1997 and 2003 on the secretary general’s watch. In effect, the United Nations colluded in Saddam’s successful evasion of U.N. sanctions. The most damning charge so far — that a former chief of the oil-for-food program, Benon Sevan, accepted bribes from Saddam’s regime — was made in October by former U.N. weapons inspector Charles A. Duelfer, who led a Senate investigation into the scandal. The program is now the subject of at least four congressional investigations, three U.S. federal investigations and the U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
If the United Nations wants credibility, it needs to get rid of Kofi Annan. I just don’t see any way that it could work.