|The Future of Freedom Foundation|
The oil-for-food program was the government program established in 1995 by U.S. officials and UN officials to alleviate the horrific suffering of the Iraqi people arising out of the brutal system of sanctions that the U.S. government and the UN imposed against the Iraqi people in 1991 and which lasted for more than a decade.
While the ostensible goal of the sanctions was to disarm Saddam Hussein of the weapons of mass destruction that the United States and other Western countries had furnished him during the 1980s, the real reason for the sanctions was to oust Saddam from power and replace his regime with one more palatable to the U.S. government. As the New York Times reported on May 21, 1991, President Bush said today that the United States would oppose the lifting of the worldwide ban against trading with Iraq until President Saddam Hussein is forced out of power in Baghdad.
After months of investigation, Volker has concluded that the oil-for-food program was riddled with political favoritism and mismanagement, which apparently has shocked and outraged people within neoconservative circles. The neocons are surprised to learn that Saddam Hussein was a corrupt dictator, one who misappropriated resources from the oil-for-food program and from illegal sales of oil rather than use them to buy food and medicine for the many children who were dying as a result of the sanctions.
However, theres an interesting oddity that has recently developed. It turns out that after the U.S. government ousted Saddam Hussein from power in the recent invasion, finally achieving the regime change that the sanctions had failed to achieve, and took over the running of Iraq through what was called the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. government itself brought about the disappearance of some $9 billion in Iraqi monies. Yes, thats billion with a b. Poof! Gone! Vanished! Nine billion dollars! Tell me: How does anyone lose 9 billion dollars?
Yet, for some odd reason, the neocons dont seem as shocked, outraged, and appalled over the disappearance of that money as they are over Saddam Husseins waste, fraud, and abuse in the oil-for-food scandal. Why, they even seem to be ignoring the distinct but uncomfortable possibility, if youll excuse me for being blunt, that a few of those billions have been used as bribes to line the pockets of people in Iraq, perhaps even including some high Iraqi interim-government officials who are have been endorsing an indefinite U.S. military occupation of Iraq.
Lets face it: The U.S. government should never have imposed the brutal sanctions system against the Iraqi people as a way to force them to oust their dictator from office or even as a means to persuade their dictator to disarm Iraq of the infamous WMD that the U.S. government had furnished him just a few years before to use against the Iranian people. Why should the people of Iraq, who lost hundreds of thousands of children because of the sanctions, have been forced to pay the price for their dictators supposed intransigence?
Moreover, when it became clear that the use of sanctions to achieve regime change had failed, U.S. officials and UN officials should have immediately lifted the sanctions that were continuing to squeeze the life out of Iraqi children rather than implement a government oil-for-food program that entrusted oil-for-food resources in the hands of someone everyone knew was a brutal and untrustworthy dictator.
albeit painful, is that all the hullabalooh about the waste, fraud,
and abuse in the infamous oil-for-food program is nothing more than
a smokescreen to avoid focusing on the moral culpability for the massive
number of deaths of the Iraqi children arising out of the brutal sanctions
that the U.S. government and the UN enforced against the Iraqi people
for more than ten years and the horrific anger and hatred among people
in the Middle East that those deaths generated against the United States
prior to 9/11.
Samuel Bostaph is head of the economics department at the University of Dallas and an academic advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation
Anthony Gregory is a policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation
James Bovard is author of The Bush Betrayal and serves as a policy advisor for The Future of Freedom Foundation
Benedict LaRosa is a historian and writer and serves as a policy advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation
Bart Frazier is program director at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va., author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine.
Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email.