Oil-for-food and Dick Cheney

3 04 2005

This week, an inquiry into the UN’s “Oil-for-food” programme in Iraq cleared Secretary-General Kofi Annan of any wrongdoing, while implicating his son Kojo. Since then, many on the Right in the U.S. from the Heritage Foundation to Republican Senator Norm Coleman have been baying for his blood. For the New York Post, Annan’s “continued presence at the head of the United Nations remains an embarrassment.”

I wonder, then, what those who are calling for Kofi Annan’s head would have to say about a report published in October 2004 on Halliburton’s involvement in the oil-for-food programme? It appears that under Dick Cheney’s tenure, “Halliburton and its subsidiaries were one of several American and foreign oil supply companies that helped Iraq increase its crude exports from $4 billion in 1997 to nearly $18 billion in 2000 by skirting U.S. laws and selling Iraq spare parts so it could repair its oil fields and pump more oil.” Furthermore, “U.N. documents show that Halliburton’s affiliates have had controversial dealings with the Iraqi regime during Cheney’s tenure at the company and played a part in helping Saddam Hussein illegally pocket billions of dollars under the U.N.’s oil-for-food program.” Sure, Cheney sang loudly and proudly from the Bush administration/PNAC hymn sheet in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion, but back when he was Halliburton’s CEO he was pushing the UN Security Council to lift “an 11-year embargo on sales of civilian goods, including oil related equipment, to Iraq.” Sanctions such as these, you see, “unfairly punish U.S. companies.”

Remember, as Dick says: “The problem is that the good Lord didn’t see fit to always put oil and gas resources where there are democratic governments.” But we can always change that, can’t we Dick?

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