August 12, 2004

U.N. Bribes from Iraq

A good World Magazine article has some numbers on the U.N. and Saddam Hussein.

1. The US General Accounting Office says Saddam skimmed off at least 10 billion dollars from the Oil for Food Program administered by the UN. This is what was used for arms and bribes to individuals.

2. The Oil for Food program collected 65 billion dollars in revenues from Iraqi oil. This is what the UN took a cut of, and what passed through the secret French banks. Apparently 45 billion actually ended up helping Iraq as food and suchlike.

3. The Marshall Plan back in the 1940's provided 90 billion dollars (2004 equivalent) to 17 industrialized European countries, many of them larger than Iraq.

4. The US provided 22% of the UN budget-- 350 million dollars.

From this, we can see that the US contribution to the UN budget is trivial by comparison with what the UN got from Saddam, even putting aside the fact that the US contribution goes to administrative expenses instead of the bribes to individual UN officials that would be more important for determining its policies. So why should the UN care about offending the US, if it came down to the US vs. Iraq?

By the way, I wonder if the UN sanctions had any bite at all by the last 5 years of the Saddam regime. I bet not. If not, then oil exports were not being curtailed, so we would expect less oil to be exported now than was during the supposed sanctions, when the equipment was in better shape and a savage dictator was effectively suppressing guerilla attacks.

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