April 14, 2005
For all the frothing at the mouth by the Far Right, it is increasingly becoming clear that the "Oil-for-Food Scandal" was little more than a standard kickback arrangement, typical in Arab countries and Israel, where companies had to "pay to play" with the rulers of a regime to do bidness. In other words, the sort of arrangement that Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay might be comfortable with, a global version of the K-Street Project. In fact, the successor program to "Oil for Food", the Development Fund for Iraq, has potentially billions of dollars in unaccounted-for funds, a level of corruption geometrically greater than the petty bribes involved in the Oil-for-Food Program. The "victims" of Oil-for-Food weren't the people of Iraq (after all, the end of the deal involving "food" came through), but the shareholders of companies like Exxon and Chevron, who got fleeced by yet another third world despot. It certainly does not justify abolishing the U.N.