A Look at the Oil for Palaces Program

Kofi Annan is finally looking into the way the U.N.’s policies funded the palaces, the torture chambers, and the secret police of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime in Iraq, at the same time that the people were impoverished through the U.N.-imposed sanctions on normal trade and made even more dependent on the regime by the food handouts they administered. The sanctions were immoral and visited terrible suffering on the majority of the population, but didn’t shake the power of the regime one whit. (They did, however, clearly degrade the regime’s ability to wage war on its neighbors; the Iraqi military was remarkably hollow, despite having turned almost the whole country into a giant armory, with schools packed full of mortar shells, RPGs, and the like.)

And if the sanctions were immoral and (aside from their military effect, which was evidently considerable) largely ineffective at softening or removing Saddam’s power over the Iraqi people, let’s also not forget the Clinton administration’s wanton and reckless bombing of the country. It seemed that every time Bill Clinton was really annoyed with something, he’d personally order the bombing of Iraq. Remember the bombs rained over Iraq on the day Slick Willy was impeached, orchestrated with claims from Bill’s loathesome coterie of supporters that to vote to impeach while “troops are in the field” was “treason” and “traitorous”? (Where were the protestors then? I guess if a “third way” Democrat kills innocent Iraqis by the score, as he did innocent Serbs, it’s just fine with that crowd. The selectivity of their outrage is disgusting.)

I think that the war against Saddam was a big mistake, but I also think that the U.N. sanctions and the Clinton Administration’s random bombing were utterly immoral. At least now the sanctions and the aerial bombardment are over. That may not justify the war, but it’s certainly a benefit of it, as is the removal of one of the most evil and horrifying regimes of the last half of the twentieth century.

2 Responses to “A Look at the Oil for Palaces Program”

  1. Chris Farley

    I agreed with the war, but not for the reasons stated. There were many, many little reasons to go to war with Iraq. My opinion is that they added up to a yes. All in all, I’d say the war was a success on many fronts:

    No more torture chambers
    No more evil tyrant
    A free and democratic Iraq
    A clear message to Muslim extremists
    A demonstration of American will and resolve
    Military power projection in the Middle East
    A weakening of the United Nations
    No more WMD threat – yes, there was at least some degree of threat, even if it proved to be minute.

    Honest people can disagree and it will be many years until the final verdict is in, but I’d have to say that Bush did the right thing – though I’m still not sure whether I will vote for him or not.