Hussein Skimmed Billions

steal from the UN’s Oil for Food program.*

Michele Catalano has more at Command Post.

*The above NYT link is to their RSS feed version rather than the one on the main web page. This helps fight linkrot, as explained by Kevin Drum last November. I have been doing this for NYT links ever since, and they do indeed seem to stay active. The only exception I’ve found is the articles NYT posts from the AP wire, for which I’ve not found an RSS feed.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mithras says:

    I guess this right-wing obsession with bashing the UN puzzles me. So Hussein was corrupt. So he diverted funds from feeding and providing medical care to his people into his military and into his own pocket. Why is that the UN’s fault?

    If someone were on welfare, for example, and they used the money to buy drugs or alcohol, is that the government’s fault?

    What if someone does a study of corruption in today’s Iraq and then concluded it’s the fault of the U.S. occupation? Would you accept that as valid criticism?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Nothing in the post bashes the U.N.

  3. Mithras says:

    You’re right, and I should have made it clear your post wasn’t an egregious example of the practice. But then again, if not to bash the UN indirectly, why is this relevant? We knew the guy was a dictator, in a region of the world which is notable for its all-pervasive corruption. We knew about his palaces and the suffering of his people – which suffering could have been averted if he had actually used the oil-for-food money properly – before the invasion. I think this kind of thing receives such an eager hearing from conservatives because they think it justifies a unilateralist and exclusively military U.S. foreign policy.

  4. James Joyner says:

    I think it shows the type of man we were dealing with and is further evidence of why diplomacy is sometimes inadequate. The UN is by and large quite successful on the humanitarian front, but this was not one of those cases.

  5. Mithras says:

    I’m not sure that conclusion follows. The point of the oil-for-food program was to render Saddam militarily toothless while still providing enough resources for the Iraqi people to live on. No doubt, Saddam’s thievery caused a lot of suffering, but the program certainly achieved its aims.

  6. Paul says:

    I guess this left-wing obsession with protecting the UN puzzles me. So the UN ended up sponsoring the murder of millions. Is that their fault? They only knew about the problem for a decade. It is not like they had any opportunity to stop it.

    I mean, who cares if they had no oversight and they funded the torture of children?

    What the big deal to the right-wingers?


    Heavy sigh.